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Europe twisting over Libya

Gavin Hewitt | 16:26 UK time, Friday, 25 February 2011

Faced with international crises Europe seems to tie itself in knots. Some seek what is not possible. Some chase what does not exist.

I refer to those who hanker after a European foreign policy. Some yearn for the EU to speak with one voice and to shape events in what it regards as its own backyard. They judge events on what they tell us about European unity.

And then there is the reality of power.

Nations with influence will not be silenced in the face of grave events. So David Cameron chose to be the first major Western leader to visit Egypt after its revolution. France's President Sarkozy put sanctions against Libya on the agenda.

The German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, decided not to wait for international meetings. "It is no longer about setting deadlines," he said. "It's about acting now... therefore I have decided that sanctions should be prepared now." Germany favours a ban on Gaddafi's family travelling and a freeze of their international assets. He dismissed economic sanctions. Having set out Germany's stall, the foreign minister said he would begin talks with international partners including the EU.

France and Britain have drafted a UN proposal. It seeks an arms embargo and financial sanctions. David Cameron said: "Britain, through the United Nations, is pressing for asset seizures, for travel bans, for sanctions, for all of the things that we can do to hold those people to account, including investigating for potential crimes against humanity or war crimes, or crimes against their people."


Funeral procession in Benghazi, Libya, 25 Feb 11

President Obama has phoned David Cameron, President Sarkozy and Silvio Berlusconi. They between them have the most experienced military forces in Europe and, in the case of Italy, the greatest influence with Gaddafi.

President Sarkozy became the first European leader to insist that Gaddafi "must go".

Some see all of this as old-style European politics; that the Lisbon Treaty has made no difference. E-mails flood in to that effect.

The EU's foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton cannot make up a foreign policy. She has to consult and Europe has some different opinions over subjects like sanctions and how to manage large numbers of refugees. She has said that the 27-nation bloc should adopt "restrictive measures" of its own. She is trying to co-ordinate with the UN Security Council and putting what pressure she can on the Libyan regime.

But in truth the EU does not have the means to arrange evacuations. Its major leaders can immediately set the agenda with a single speech. They do not have to consult.

The pragmatic position is that the nation states should do what they do best and that the EU focuses on where it can deliver. The organisation will play a vital role in building democratic institutions across North Africa once the turmoil has subsided. The EU has long experience in overseeing elections. It carries a hefty punch with aid and development.

But for many that is not enough. Their frustration lies in their dreams. They imagine Europe to be what it isn't and so forever seem disappointed.

What it can mean is that at moments of crisis some of Europe faces inwards, tying itself in knots.

Comments

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  • 1. At 5:22pm on 25 Feb 2011, Scotch Git wrote:


    Colonel Gaddafi will end up living in Scotland. The Scottish government will insist that he partake of our hospitality, on compassionate grounds.

    What's that you say? He is responsible for the deaths of hundreds?

    No matter. In Scotland, compassion trumps justice!

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  • 2. At 5:45pm on 25 Feb 2011, one step beyond wrote:

    A good post, Mr Mardell, the reality of the political situation is that no one is prepared to take a back seat and let the E.U. take the lead (quite rightly). The money spent on establishing the E.U Foreign affairs office is a white elephant, which will become increasingly marginalised. In terms of admin functions re overseeing elections etc after things have settled down, they are probably up to it, but should not require the trappings of a whole Foreign affairs department.

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  • 3. At 5:46pm on 25 Feb 2011, mancunius wrote:

    Sorry, but this strikes me as the 'Little Englander' point of view that can congratulate itself in identifying all of the negatives, but provides no foresight on how things could be.

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  • 4. At 6:13pm on 25 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #1 - Scotch Git

    Mr. Mubarak might end up in genteel retirement. He had the grace to admit defeat and back down. Col. Gaddafi turned his firepower on his own people and leaders who do that have a nasty habit of ending up on the end of a rope.

    #2 - one step beyond

    "A good post, Mr Mardell . . . ". Yes, carry on like this and he might get Washington. Wonder who will take over the Euroblog. Gavin Hewitt maybe?

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  • 5. At 6:27pm on 25 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #3 - mancunius

    Actually, he is right. The British and French have forgotten more about operations of this kind than the rest of Europe ever knew although the Spanish and Italians learned well in the Balkans and, what ever you may think of the American approach on the ground, they do at least know the theory.

    Europe does not have a credible defense force and therefore cannot assume responsibility for operations on the ground. This has to be done by people who know what they are doing, which within the context of the EU, means the Brits and the French. Also, the EU may have a 'high commissioner', what ever that may be, but it does not have a foreign policy. The Baroness appears to be making it up on the hoof. The EU is simply not united enough, mature enough and coherent enough to make a good fist of a unified foreign policy and what is more, rather too short of money to be throwing cash at a diplomatic service with no policies to pursue.

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  • 6. At 7:53pm on 25 Feb 2011, Freeborn John wrote:

    No EU travel ban is to stop a man like Gadaffi from killing to stay in power. As usual it defaults to the USA and UK to shoulder the burden of responsibility that no-one else ever seems to step up to. But are the US and UK still prepared to bare global resposnability after the harsh experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan? When cometh the hour, are the men currently in the White House and Downing Street too weak to intervene when it is necessary? Come back Tony, all is forgiven…

    ------
    “Looking around the world there are many regimes that are undemocratic and engaged in barbarous acts. If we wanted to right every wrong that we see in the modern world then we would do little else than intervene in the affairs of other countries. We would not be able to cope. So how do we decide when and whether to intervene. I think we need to bear in mind five major considerations:

    First, are we sure of our case? War is an imperfect instrument for righting humanitarian distress; but armed force is sometimes the only means of dealing with dictators.

    Second, have we exhausted all diplomatic options? We should always give peace every chance, as we have in the case of Kosovo.

    Third, on the basis of a practical assessment of the situation, are there military operations we can sensibly and prudently undertake?

    Fourth, are we prepared for the long term? In the past we talked too much of exit strategies. But having made a commitment we cannot simply walk away once the fight is over; better to stay with moderate numbers of troops than return for repeat performances with large numbers.

    And finally, do we have national interests involved? The mass expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo demanded the notice of the rest of the world. But it does make a difference that this is taking place in such a combustible part of Europe.” Tony Blair, Chicago, 1998

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  • 7. At 8:01pm on 25 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    5 threnodio writes:
    "This has to be done by people who know what they are doing, which within the context of the EU, means the Brits and the French. "
    ----------------------
    Yes, and that't precisely why they should keep well out of it. The 'operations' they were guilty of in those parts of Africa are still too fresh in people's minds. I remember many papers during the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62)writing of bodies showing evidence of torture floating down the Seine as late as the early sixties and of course during the Suez crisis both countries behaved shamefully.(It seems incongruous now that those two traditional enemies actually fought on the same side for once - amazing what can be achieved when you are united by greed)

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  • 8. At 8:14pm on 25 Feb 2011, MaxSceptic wrote:

    O, that the knot was in the EU's windpipe.

    Beside, as an unelected, unaccountable cadre of Commissars who will not take 'no' for an answer, the EU Commission have much in common with the mad dog of Tripoli.

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  • 9. At 8:27pm on 25 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    6 Freeborn John writes:
    "As usual it defaults to the USA and UK to shoulder the burden of responsibility that no-one else ever seems to step up to. But are the US and UK still prepared to bare global resposnability after the harsh experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan?"
    ---------------------------------------
    John, the 'burden' is self-appointed. Nobody has asked those two countries to 'bear' global responsibilities. Britain resented America's involvement in Northern Ireland and America had the Monroe doctrine warning other nations to stay out of their affairs.
    You mention Iraq and Afghanistan yet you must know that the trouble in both countries stems mainly from past meddling by Britain in their affairs, in Iraq when Churchill ordered the bombing of the Iraqi hill tribes with his famous quote: " I don't understand the squeamishness... I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes."
    As for Afghanistan, this is the fourth (?) time that we have invaded them in 200 years and yet again received a bloody nose in return. Leave people to sort out their own affairs and just make sure your own citizens are brought home safely. Are no lessons ever learnt?

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  • 10. At 9:48pm on 25 Feb 2011, Freeborn John wrote:

    Ban Ki-moon is sooooo much more impressive than anyone at the EU institutions. I think it is because his primary concern is to prevent the loss of life of innocent Libyan protestors rather than to use the loss of life as an aggrandise the organisation he leads as is the instinctive reaction in Brussels.

    Margaret Howard (9): Tougher action is needed than travel bans or a no-fly zone. The relevant lessons from history are the Halabja gas attack or the fate of the Marsh Arabs or perhaps Srebrenica. The world must not wring its hands and refuse to intervene when a government turns the power of the state to the destruction of it's own citizens.

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  • 11. At 9:49pm on 25 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    Gavin,

    Why exactly do you not mention the fact that the commission, through MIC, coordinates the actions of the member states?

    http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/222&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

    What happened to journalists doing their job?

    It happens a lot on this blog - long on vague opinion (typically mildly Eurosceptic because it is geared for what you think a British audience wants to read - thank you Rupert), short on facts.

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  • 12. At 10:22pm on 25 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    10 Freeborn writes:
    "The relevant lessons from history are the Halabja gas attack or the fate of the Marsh Arabs ..."
    -----------------------------------
    John, you obviously didn't read my *9 posting about the earlier gas attacks in the region. We don't live by the old testament dictum of 'an eye for an eye' anymore or as Gandhi said it will make the whole world blind. Whether you like it or not, the days of gunboat diplomacy are over.

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  • 13. At 10:52pm on 25 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #1 Scotch Git

    Scotland would be too cold for him -and different mentality.

    Another blogger (dceiler) posted this link

    http://www.israeli-occupation.org/2011-02-21/libyas-gaddafi-could-find-refuge-in-israel/

    ---would be more appropriate.

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  • 14. At 10:57pm on 25 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    10 Freeborn I forgot to reply to your following sentence:
    "The world must not wring its hands and refuse to intervene when a government turns the power of the state to the destruction of it's own citizens."
    It was the 'world' that sold those governments the weapons with which they are now attacking their own citizens.
    Apart from sounding like a lot of sanctimonious twaddle, Britain has only just now managed to extricate itself rather shamefacedly from Iraq and our masters are no doubt even now busy trying to get us out of Afghanistan without losing face but with our reputation nevertheless in tatters. America is not doing much better and the whole world has been watching. Do you want a repeat performance?
    As for Gavin's report that "France and Britain have drafted a UN proposal. It seeks an arms embargo ..." How rich is that coming from the two countries that have probably supplied more arms to the region than anyone else. Hard to beat for hypocrisy.

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  • 15. At 11:34pm on 25 Feb 2011, Freeborn John wrote:

    Margaret Howard (12): It is incredibly stupid to suggest that wanting to prevent one government from murdering it's own innocent citizens has some kind of 'eye for eye' revenge motive.

    You are also comparing genocides like the murder of 5000 people at Halabja with the use of tear-gas (called 'lachrymatory gas' by Churchill). Don't you feel embarrassed to make comparisons like that (twice!)?

    This will be my last comment to you. Apologies for confusing you with a thinking human being.

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  • 16. At 00:16am on 26 Feb 2011, Freeborn John wrote:

    Manneken(11): Gavin has not ignored the EU's 'co-ordinating role' in civil disasters. He blogged about this following the Haiti earthquake for example.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/2010/01/haiti_tests_european_response.html

    This was an absolutely disgusting example of the worst sort of EU behaviour, with some European politicians complaining that the effective American mercy-mission to Haiti was motivated only by a desire to show-boat on the world stage, while simultaneously the EU Institutions attempted to use the death of 250000 Haitians as part of their never-ending campaign of self-aggrandisement. The less we have of such EU 'co-ordination', the better.

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  • 17. At 00:57am on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Freeborn John,
    if to believe the media - Libyans are managing quite well by themselves - don't you think? Gaddafi-controlled area shrinks day-by-day.

    Either it is un-true, or it is true, and then they don't need any interference. Just to continue in the same style at the same speed. That country has limits.

    Well, if it's un-true - that's another matter altogether.

    Can't help but think that British mind has its peculiarities - can't imagine a Russian self-willingly willing to interfere there ;o))))))))
    I am not saying it's correct.
    Just that if I mentioned a plan to go fight there help Libyans to get liberated from Gaddafi anyone here on the ground will think I'm mad ;o))))))

    Though a good Russian journalist here, Malor Sturua (unusual name but Russian he is) yesterday wrote that russia's un-desire to interfere into any of those revolutions will lead to the loss of our influence in those quarters shortly, and "I am not jealous with our Ambassadors to these countries when they will go hand in the? those ambassador forma introduction papers? to the new governments there shortly." :o)))) "Will be interesting to watch those ambassadors' faces, during the process."

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  • 18. At 01:04am on 26 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #10 Freeborn John

    "The world must not wring its hands and refuse to intervene when a government turns the power of the state to the destruction of it's own citizens."

    I believe MH is saying --- OR OTHERS !

    What is wrong with that ?

    Concerning Haiti -- I saw it under Papa Doc who the USA kept in power !

    -and the USA was happy to support right wing Dictatorships all over middle and South America --who were killing their own citizens.

    --even Thatcher thought highly of one --remember ?

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  • 19. At 01:15am on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Margaret, we've also sold there arms, for example that Libyan pilot who defected and said he has refused to bomb people, landed in MIG.
    Without bombs, though :o), at landing - Russians had a close look :o)

    But then many said that it is dangerous to land in a loaded MIG in foreign countries, locals might mis-interpret it :o), so he likely cast them off away above sea in approach.

    (in reply to your post in the prev. thread, re prospects for above average flashy celebration of 1917 in 2017 :o).
    It will be then incredible how we go in circles and in circles :o)), something got broken in time/space combination over Russia :o)
    I always thought my grandma facing 1917 revolution was times immemorial kind of Egyptian piramids eh ballads, but now strangely have an acute feeling that I might take part in the same :o))))), in the same place ;o))))), and a hundred years is, like? a click? A snap of fingers.

    Comes to mind a 1970-s joke, two pensioners meeting each other in Leningrad.
    "Grigory! Is it you!? Happy to see you! How are you?!
    - Feodor! Can not be! haven't seen you since, let me think, revolution in the Palace Square day. How did you recognise me?
    - BY YOUR COAT, OF COURSE.

    (the same ;o(

    ;o)))))))

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  • 20. At 01:51am on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    "President Medvedev said on TV that "the scenario of Arab revolutions won't work in Russia, keep it in mind."

    And I absolutely agree with him; what's good when every scoundrel manages to run off away at the end?"

    :o))))))

    "An observation: attempts at revolutions in Russia are destined to failure: in case of a victory of the uprising, the powers unanimously and at once and together with the whole Government and President change the side and join the protesters and stay in power" :o)))))))))))

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  • 21. At 04:16am on 26 Feb 2011, Huaimek wrote:

    #3 Mancunius

    " Provides no foresight as to how things could be ".

    Perhaps you could provide foresight on how things could be ?

    #11 Manneken

    You are well versed in EU propaganda , your chosen website gives you away . Member states act on their own initiative without reference to MIC .

    The EU is an impotent , bureaucratic , empty structure , that only achieves embodiment and life from the input of member states .

    It is most unlikely that member states will ever hand over management of their foreign affairs to the EU . In such an event Baroness Ashton has not had a career to prepare her for such a role and is not the calibre of professional who would ever be chosen , one hopes .

    One is embarrassed by Cameron's posturing in Egypt and Hague's ambiguous statements .

    Apart from rescuing respective European nations from Libya , I believe we should let the north African countries sort things out for themselves .
    It is very doubtful that Democracy as we define it will materialise in those countries in the near future . The EU offered to monitor elections in Thailand , but were told that they weren't wanted ; I think the same would apply in these African countries .

    One hopes that European member state navies are patroling the Mediterranean ,to prevent flotillas of vessels filled with immigrants in their millions reaching European shores .

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  • 22. At 08:30am on 26 Feb 2011, Freeborn John wrote:

    WebAlice (17) said "Libyans are managing quite well by themselves - don't you think? Gaddafi-controlled area shrinks day-by-day ... then they don't need any interference."

    Media says same here. But western governments, UN etc., seem to be planning for long-term measures like sanctions or travel-bans so it seems to me they expect the Gaddafi regime to survive. And if Gadaffi survives then what will happen when he consolodates power over Benghazi and all the other areas that were temporally free? Seems to me the situation will be very like that of the 1991 uprisings in Iraq when Sadaam Hussein took terrible revenge on marsh Arabs and others who had celebrated the end of the dictator too early. George Bush Senior and the West stood by and let that happen; and more than 100000 civilians died. 

    We are also responsible for the consequences of the actions we could have taken but did not do. This is main difference in outlook between US/UK and the Continentals at time like this. It is not simply a matter that only English-speaking countries have this capability to intervene to protect civilians. It is also an issue of certain Continental countries (notably Germany, but maybe France & Russia) not believing they are responsible for the consequences of the actions they could have taken to save lives but do not take. 

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  • 23. At 09:05am on 26 Feb 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    #9 & #12 margaret howard
    Just to reinforce Freeborn John's historical allusion This actually quotes historical texts whereas most 'reporting' of Churchill on gas in Iraq is just rumour from bad sources.
    The first blunt assertion of British chemical weapons use in Iraq comes from a 1986 essay by historian Charles Townshend. In his essay Townshend refers to a 1921 letter penned by J.A. Webster, an official at the British Air Ministry. In Townshend's description, Webster wrote to the British Colonial Office, the overseer of the Mesopotamian occupation, that tear gas shells had been used against Arab rebels with "excellent moral effect."

    Douglas's research, however, reveals that Webster was wrong...

    ..."[T]here had been two brief periods in 1920-21 during which the use of tear gas in the course of military operations had been the stated policy of the British Government," Douglas writes. "In both cases practical difficulties rather than moral qualms …prevented their use."

    Before 1920, the British War Cabinet had expressly denied requests by field commanders to use tear gas in occupied Mesopotamia. That changed in June 1920, when an organized Arab rebellion erupted. Winston Churchill, then War Secretary and a vocal advocate of nonlethal gas use, gave commanders in the field permission to use "existing stocks" of tear gas artillery shells.

    But at that time, there were no existing stocks of such weapons in Mesopotamia. The nearest supply was in Egypt and needed to be transported to the region. By the time they arrived, the rebellion was over and the shells went unused.

    Anticipating renewed hostilities, a Royal Air Force commander sought permission in 1922 to convert the unused artillery shells into bombs that could be dropped from aircraft. Churchill signed off on the request, but was forced to rescind his permission just days later when the Washington Disarmament Conference passed a resolution banning the use of tear gas. The shells, again, went unused.


    So, to summarise,

    - Churchill was in favour of the use of 'non-lethal gas', in this case tear gas

    - Someone in the Air Ministry thought tear gas had already been used but in fact it had not and never was - first because of unavailability - and then because the UK in an international conference agreed not to use it in 1922

    - Allegations like margaret howard's, like much anti-Iraq-War propaganda, have circulated since 2003, like this from the Asia Times from 2004 which says ...I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes." Churchill argued that the military use of gas was a "scientific expedient" and it "should not be prevented by the prejudices of those who do not think clearly". Whole villages were bombed and gassed. There was wholesale slaughter of civilians. Men, women and children fleeing from gassed villages in panic were mercilessly machine-gunned by low-flying British planes. The Royal Air Force routinely bombed and used poison gas against the Kurd, Sunni and Shi'ite tribes without discrimination....

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  • 24. At 09:09am on 26 Feb 2011, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Freeborn John (22):

    You do understand that western intervention to Libya wouldn't probably go like...

    "This is Joe Schmuck, live from ZNN. We are just watching Marine Corps arriving Tripoli. There are big crowds everywhere, they are shouting USA! USA! USA! and throwing flowers into air! This is amazing!" ...

    "Here is local man, Abdul. Abdul how do you feel about liberation? ... Very great! Now we get democracy! And Coca-Cola! And McDonalds! Best day! Thank you America! USA! USA! USA!"

    In reality western intervention, done by any coalition, would probably lead to...

    "12 UN peace keepers were killed today when their convoy was ambushed. It is not known yet who the perpetrators were. Both opposition and Libyan government have blamed each others."

    "Today terrorist network al-Qaeda released a statement that prompted Muslims to take arms against the crusaders in Libya, to wage Jihad until the invaders have been driven out to the sea."

    "A huge blast rocked down town Tripoli today. It is not know how high casualties are, but it is believed that most of the interim government has been killed in the suicide attack."

    The best being that this would once again be eternal war continuing for decades. US is still in both Afghanistan and in Iraq and in both places there is no seeming end to the conflict.

    How about we just wait and see what happens. At this point any intervention to Libya can cost more lives at the end than not intervening.

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  • 25. At 09:19am on 26 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    Gavin's post is actually quite wrong.

    The EU is doing what it does best, which is coordinating between the member-states, and make sure they don't duplicate efforts or hinder each other.

    Vastly underrepresented in the British press, but most evacuation was done by military actions of the EU nations under coordination by the EU. That is how it should be - and that is where the EU adds a lot of value. It is no coincidence that the citizens, when asked, indicate to military coordination and integration as one of the main area's where the EU can add value.

    The EU can do a lot more than offer expertise in democracy and building civil society (to the anti-EU ranters who say the EU is not democratic: it is more democratic than e.g. the UK - the EU does not have a hereditary monarch or an appointed legislative chamber that has no democratic legitimacy; the EU also has a superior system of checks and balances and constitutional independence of e.g. the judiciary).

    Does that mean that national politicians should wait until Brussels speaks before opening their mouth? Of course not. They should speak their minds - but openly so. And each level should take the decisions for which it has authority. That's democracy (and subsidiarity) in action.

    It would of course help if Cathy Ashton would actually do her job, rather than being a simple press secretary, waiting for the UK Foreign Office call before doing anything at all. I wish some MEP's would start telling her she will never be re-appointed if she continues like this.

    As I've advocated many times before, why are we not allowed to know which member-state blocks strong common language and actions? My money is on Silvio protecting his chum across the Med club.

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  • 26. At 09:31am on 26 Feb 2011, Ellinas wrote:



                                       Hᴇᴡɪᴛᴛ Tᴡɪsᴛɪɴɢ Oᴠᴇʀ Lɪʙʏᴀ

    After your superb "Tʜᴇ Gᴏᴏᴅ ᴛʜᴇ Bᴀᴅ ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ Uɢʟʏ Rᴇᴀʟᴘᴏʟɪᴛɪᴋ Sᴘᴀɢʜᴇᴛᴛɪ Aʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ" ...

    (You think i forgot of it?...No way...)

    ... and the "excellent scientific results" on that subject by praising the "great man" of influence (Erdogan) in regards to the EU ineffective foreign policy as well as Turkey (as i pointed out here): "Wʜᴀᴛ Tᴜʀᴋᴇʏ ᴅᴇᴍᴏɴsᴛʀᴀᴛᴇs ɪs ᴛʜᴀᴛ ʏᴏᴜ ᴅᴏɴ'ᴛ ɴᴇᴇᴅ ᴀ sɪɴɢʟᴇ ᴠᴏɪᴄᴇ ᴛᴏ ʙᴇ ɪɴfʟᴜᴇɴᴛɪᴀʟ." ...

    Now this new Realpolitik saga with no reference to a "Gᴏᴏᴅ - US policy", another "Bᴀᴅ - Geddaffi", the same "Uɢʟʏ - EU" and the man (Erdogan) with the great worldwide influence you "so well described to us", lost in translation of your own topic.

    But don't worry i know you had other priorities like writing - for the second time - an article about berlusconi/Geddaffi relationship:

    Aʀᴀʙ Aᴡᴀᴋᴇɴɪɴɢ: Eᴜʀᴏᴘᴇ's ᴜɴᴄʟᴇᴀɴ ʜᴀɴᴅs                    Gᴀᴅᴅᴀfɪ ᴀɴᴅ ᴛʜᴇ Rᴏᴍᴀɴ ᴄɪʀᴄᴜs

    so i'll do that for you i.e. pay tribute to this great politician he is ... How? Simple! By praizing him for his recent (3 months ago) Human Rights Prize. What prize you may wonder?...

                             Eʀᴅᴏɢᴀɴ Rᴇᴄᴇɪᴠᴇᴅ Gᴀᴅᴅᴀfɪ Hᴜᴍᴀɴ Rɪɢʜᴛs Pʀɪᴢᴇ

    Why? Only God knows...of course not for that reason...

                                            Sᴛᴏᴘ Tᴜʀᴋɪsʜ Bʀᴜᴛᴀʟɪᴛʏ

    And what Erdogan do in return for his friend:

                        Tᴜʀᴋᴇʏ ᴏᴘᴘᴏsᴇs sᴀɴᴄᴛɪᴏɴs ᴏɴ Lɪʙʏᴀ ᴀᴍɪᴅ ᴏɴɢᴏɪɴɢ ᴇᴠᴀᴄᴜᴀᴛɪᴏɴ


    Back in 2006 in a meeting with French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste Blazy i remember him saying:

    "These cartoons attack our moral values. Freedom of press should have some limits. While we Turks strive for the alliance of civilizations, this kind of approach serves for the clash of civilizations."

    When asked, "Would you handle it the same way if they were cartoons of Christ," Blazy replied "Yes."

    and in the meantime this week we see this: Mock crucifixion in Turkey (Bayburt)...Gun-holding indoctrinated minors..."The Armenian genocide turned to be a Turkish genocide by the Armenians"...and Get a house for vacation there...If there is nothing else you can do in order to invest at least have your funerals

    All this in one single celebration...a some kind of a Turkish carnival

                                  Hᴇᴡɪᴛᴛ sᴇᴇᴍs ᴛᴏ ᴛɪᴇ ɪᴛsᴇʟf ɪɴ ᴋɴᴏᴛs

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  • 27. At 09:32am on 26 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #11

    manneken;

    Are you sure the MIC is "coordinates the actions of member states"? As far as I can see each of the nations is doing its own thing.

    http://euobserver.com/9/31878

    "Most EU states have taken charge of their own evacuation operations. Among the unilateral initiatives,......"

    Perhaps if you have access to the facts you could let us (and Gavin) know
    exactly how many EU citizens have been rescued to date by planes or ships requested, ordered or chartered by the European Union?


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  • 28. At 09:45am on 26 Feb 2011, DP wrote:

    Your post highlights what many of us have known for a long time - the EU will never be given responsibility for deciding the collective foreign policy of Europe, certainly not one that includes Britain, France, Italy and Germany. So why continue with this ridiculous charade? Let's be rid of Ashton and the nonsense of an EU diplomatic bureaucracy that supports her.

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  • 29. At 10:18am on 26 Feb 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    #11 Manneken
    The press release you quote says "...Through the Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC)..."

    The European Civil Protection website describes the MIC (Monitoring and Information Centre ...It gives countries access to a platform, to a one-stop-shop of civil protection means available amongst the all the participating states. Any country inside or outside the Union affected by a major disaster can make an appeal for assistance through the MIC. It acts as a communication hub at headquarters level between participating states...

    The 'participating states' include four non-EU states. This is the kind of institution which would certainly have come into existence without the EU.

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  • 30. At 10:39am on 26 Feb 2011, Freeborn John wrote:

    Manneken(25): Brussels is doing what it does best, namely trying to use every crisis to aggrandise its role. The supranational institutions are a perpetual answer in search of a problem, exploiting human misery in Libya (as in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake) to further the relentless beurocratic drive for increased influence. Only those on the Brussels payroll support this EU ambulance-chasing.

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  • 31. At 10:43am on 26 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #29

    clivehill;

    "The 'participating states' include four non-EU states"

    Yes but the MIC can be activated by any state, the "participating" means those that are willing to provide assistance. It worked well in coordinating EU aid for Katrina and Haiti, an exact list of what was provided to the US for Katrina is listed here, for example:

    http://www.eurunion.org/News/press/2005/HurricaneKatrinaReliefEU.doc

    However, in the case of the Libyan evacuation, I believe that only Hungary (and 10 other non-EU states) have requested the MIC to help. Everyone else is acting unilaterally.

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  • 32. At 10:48am on 26 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    22 Freeborn writes:
    "Seems to me the situation will be very like that of the 1991 uprisings in Iraq when Sadaam Hussein took terrible revenge on marsh Arabs and others who had celebrated the end of the dictator too early. George Bush Senior and the West stood by and let that happen; and more than 100000 civilians died."
    And then of course George W Junior changed his mind and invaded. Tell me again - how many civilian were killed in that little adventure?

    You go on to say:"It is also an issue of certain Continental countries (notably Germany, but maybe France & Russia) not believing they are responsible for the consequences of the actions they could have taken to save lives but do not take."
    It is because they realise full well from past experience just what the consequences of their interference in other country's affairs can be in relation of loss of life of civilians and future resentment that they are wise to stay out of it. According to Webalice the same applies to Russia. The English speaking people have done more damage than most by constantly interfering in things that have nothing to do with them and then trying to take the moral high ground. As I've said before you bitterly resented the Americans interfering in Northern Ireland yet think it is perfectly correct to tell others how to run their own countries. I thought you would be an advocate of self-determination.



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  • 33. At 10:50am on 26 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    AiW: Comes to mind a 1970-s joke, two pensioners meeting each other in Leningrad.
    "Grigory! Is it you!? Happy to see you! How are you?!
    - Feodor! Can not be! haven't seen you since, let me think, revolution in the Palace Square day. How did you recognise me?
    - BY YOUR COAT, OF COURSE.







    From the memoir of a Cracow citizen:

    March 21st, 1945.

    Today at Karmelicka Street I met the first Red Army liberator.

    The next watch I bought myself only 5 years later.

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  • 34. At 11:18am on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Freeborn John,

    see above how people are thankful after you liberate them :o)))))))))))

    It'll be real better, if US-UK and whoever else joins even in wild dreams us,
    wait first until a part of Libya consolidates under uprising banners, gets a name for themselves and some rep anyone will do, and asks formally for help, protection from Gaddafi bombings troops or whatever.

    Protection - is not assault - even Russia would join. And I am sure we can all protect of our own weapons after all :o)))))

    I heard there is chance of there becoming 3 Libya-s, there are split natural areas in it. One area will be Gaddafi experimenting with robe designs, tents and other hocus-pocus to his heart satisfaction, he's got money left over to continue having fun, another - oil regions :o)))))))))
    what's the third one can't remember now.

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  • 35. At 11:32am on 26 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #34

    So Alice, when there's going to be a regime change in Russia?

    Since even Arabs are rebelling against corrupted authoritarian rulers?

    ['P' comes before 'Q' if memory serves]

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  • 36. At 11:33am on 26 Feb 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    #32 margaret howard
    ...The English speaking people have done more damage than most by constantly interfering in things that have nothing to do with them and then trying to take the moral high ground...

    How is the plight of people in other countries 'nothing to do with' us ? Why does humanity stop at our borders ?

    The UN estimate that around 300,000 people died in Darfur. I blame much of that directly on anti-Iraq-War demonstrations in the West.

    Omar Bashir, the President of Sudan, believed as a result of the anti-Iraq-War demonstrations that he could get away with massacring Sudanese people without intervention by the West.

    He was right.

    The anti-Iraq-War movement destroyed western political will to help people being murdered in large numbers by their governments as they had been in Iraq.

    A great many more people were killed in Darfur than have been killed in Iraq - even if you include al Qaeda and insurgent killings in Iraq.

    ...Tell me again - how many civilian were killed in that little adventure?...

    I don't know about Freeborn John but I would be happy to discuss the numbers of people killed by the US/UK and allied other forces in Iraq.

    Invariably sources for these numbers speak of 'deaths which would not otherwise have occurred'.

    Perhaps you would be prepared to discuss how many deaths would have occurred if the no-fly zones had been lifted in Iraq ? The same no-fly zones that had been instituted to prevent the massacres of Kurds and southern Shi'a since the early 1990s.

    There is a direct parallel with Libya in this. Some are calling for a no-fly zone now because the Muammar Gaddafi - like Saddam Hussein in the early 1990s - is reported as using helicopters and fixed wing planes to attack Libyan people.

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  • 37. At 11:59am on 26 Feb 2011, Sasha Clarkson wrote:

    @36 I agree with Robert Heinlein, that those who vote for war should be the first to be conscripted, and that those who can't fight shouldn't have a say in the matter. Where would you be prepared to risk YOUR life?

    Gavin, there's an interesting Demo going on in Berlin this afternoon. Inspired by the Arab example, students are intent on "Showing the Liar-Baron the shoe". It might be worth getting one of your reporters to have a look?

    http://frank.geekheim.de/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/guttbye.jpg

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  • 38. At 12:22pm on 26 Feb 2011, Freeborn John wrote:

    Jukka, webAlice: I am not talking about intervention to 'liberate' Libyans; only to prevent Gadaffi's killings, which requires more quick-acting measures than sanctions or travel bans as currently being talked about. The quality of any democracy depends upon the desire of its citizens and cannot be delivered by foreigners; only Libyans can liberate themsleves. But outsiders can provide timely help to the Libyan protesters to protect themselves, and ultimately the means to bring him down if he won't go without a bloodbath.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsibility_to_protect

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  • 39. At 12:31pm on 26 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #21 Huaimek


    "One hopes that European member state navies are patroling the Mediterranean ,to prevent flotillas of vessels filled with immigrants in their millions reaching European shores ."

    --Why ?

    --you are still leading from behind -- IN THAILAND !

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  • 40. At 12:37pm on 26 Feb 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    #37 Sasha Clarkson
    @36 I agree with Robert Heinlein, that those who vote for war should be the first to be conscripted, and that those who can't fight shouldn't have a say in the matter. Where would you be prepared to risk YOUR life?

    I am a fat old man. When I was younger, I certainly would have been prepared to risk my life for something like Iraq. It has a greater morality than, say, WW1.

    It compares with WW2 - are you saying we should not have been involved in WW2 ?

    When a monster arises who values his nationalist ambition above the lives of hundreds of thousands of people then someone must do something.

    Honestly, I wish that was the UN. I wish the UN would make objective judgments on conflicts and member states could act on those.

    Unfortunately, the UN is hamstrung by the politics of its Security Council members. In the case of Iraq, it was hamstrung by trade in oil and other things - by France and Russia.

    This from February 2003 illustrates France's interests
    All told, France sold some $25bn-worth of weaponry to Iraq before the UN embargo was imposed after the Gulf War....

    ...But above all, the French are interested in Iraqi oil.

    Nicolas Sarkis, of Arab Oil and Gas magazine, says France's state-controlled TotalFinaElf is poised to win contracts to drill the largest unexploited oil reserves in the world.


    ...and Russia - from January 2003:
    Iraq signed a new development deal on Friday with Stroitransgaz, a Russian oil and gas construction company worth $3.4 billion to develop block four in Iraq's Western Desert.

    Robert Heinlein is one of my all time favourite science fiction authors. What he said is simplistic but I agree with it in principle. It should not be easy to go to war.

    Neither should it be easy for dictators to murder their people.

    What do you suggest should be done about Muammar Gaddafi if he starts killing tens of thousands of his people ?

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  • 41. At 12:43pm on 26 Feb 2011, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    Gavin, you highlight very well the flimsy, ethereal, but above all anti-democratic nature of this "European project". Have "those who hanker after a European foreign policy" actually set out their case in full detail and sought consent for their ideas through the democratic process? The EU speaking with one voice would of course mean the 27 member states ceasing to exist as independent states and merging themselves into a single new nation state. If the basis for this is the Lisbon Treaty, that only underlines how anti-democratic the whole thing is, given the way in which the Treaty was forced through without consulting the peoples of Europe (except of course for the Irish, who had to vote twice).

    Perhaps I could use a recent example from the corporate world to show how a merger should be achieved democratically. Recently British Airways and Iberia merged into a single new company, IAG. Shareholders of both BA and Iberia were kept fully informed at all stages of the process as to what the implications of the merger would be (e.g. that their companies would cease to be quoted on stock exchanges but would continue to exist for marketing and operational purposes), and the merger itself only went ahead after the shareholders of BA and Iberia had their separate opportunities to give their informed consent to the proposal.

    Compare and contrast that with the way in which the hankerers after a European foreign policy are trying to achieve their objectives!

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  • 42. At 12:44pm on 26 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    38 Freeborn writes:
    "But outsiders can provide timely help to the Libyan protesters to protect themselves, and ultimately the means to bring him down if he won't go without a bloodbath."

    And how do you propose we do this? The 'outsiders' who worked and lived there have all fled and surrounding countries don't want to be flooded with thousands of refugees, ourselves included. Any practical ideas?

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  • 43. At 1:32pm on 26 Feb 2011, phillipwest wrote:

    #33 Powermeerkat
    I would like a link to this memoir of a Crakow citizen you refer to. I live in Krakow, am quite familiar with Karmilicka Street and enjoy reading about the history of our fair city.

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  • 44. At 1:36pm on 26 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #39

    quietoaktree;

    "--you are still leading from behind -- IN THAILAND !"

    Stop attacking others for their nationality and place of residence whilst denying your own.

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  • 45. At 1:44pm on 26 Feb 2011, Freeborn John wrote:

    Cometh the hour, cometh l'homme? It seems that France will have a new foreign minister on Monday, and it will be Alain Juppe who was foreign minister at the time of the Rwandan genocide and who was heavily blamed by the Rwandan government report into the atrocities. The current French foreign minister's recent gaffes include offering the ancien regime in Tunisia 'advice on crowd control' but replacing her with Juppe while Gadaffi is committing atrocities seems the ultimate faux-pas.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/08/06/rwanda.france/index.html

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  • 46. At 1:53pm on 26 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    39 Clive Hill
    "I don't know about Freeborn John but I would be happy to discuss the numbers of people killed by the US/UK and allied other forces in Iraq."

    A conservative figure puts the numbers at over 150,000 people, 80% of them civilians. No doubt you could find the figures of how many people have been killed worldwide by US/UK interference since WW2 if you searched the internet.
    At 40 you detail the oil and arms deals of France and Russia in some detail. Any figures for the USA/UK?

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  • 47. At 2:02pm on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Freeborn John,
    I agree, one always has a desire to go bloody the nose of anyone firing at own people. Why the reports are so unreliable one wonders, where are all the spies gone yours and ours there ?!:o)))))) You can't get a clear idea where are tanks or where are planes, are there any rockets employed, where is this heavy munition firing at Libyans. And is it.
    With all respect, a pilot or two defecting in MIGs abroad, could have just wished that - to defect.
    Are there those MIGs more flying bombing, or what? 1-2-3 of them in air shouldn't be a problem for 1-2-3 MIGs with Russians say casually patrolling a bit around ;o) at any time ;o) And then the air is clean, only ground operations.
    What are they discussing in UN, what they have got in hands - we aren't informed either. Only tiny bits and pieces and where is the war map or any layed-out estimates of where is what and how many.
    I can't read anywhere even how well Gaddafi is armed in the result of our joint effort :o), what is it that he has got.
    Most media says total crap.

    (that UN as we remember Georgia is a no-go when soeone bombs someone, they will sit discuss for days)

    But Georgia was at least home for us well I know I know ;o))))) still we feel more at ease bossying around without a UN security council OK in own quarters (plus-minus ;o). While that Libya with all respect is not our quarters. And there Russia won't move without a UN security council OK.

    Now, I can't even get a clue what they are discussing in that security council, do they discuss to go fly around at least protect Libyans from sky dangers at all. Or only those economic sanctions embargoes whatever.

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  • 48. At 2:05pm on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Mum says ironically Brezhnev dreams come true ;o)
    Re "worldwide revolution starting from Africa".
    I never heard but she says in her time it was top USSR dreams and a motto on all corners, African regimes collapse one after another :o)))))
    She remembered now.

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  • 49. At 2:36pm on 26 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #44 Champagne Charlie

    --- One goes to Thailand (probably) to save taxes and have an easier retired life --then one complains when others are fleeing their country and entering the one you left.

    --Its not the nationalism I cannot fathom ---it´s the logic !

    -- but as I always say --nationalism and logic are contradictory.

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  • 50. At 2:41pm on 26 Feb 2011, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Freeborn John (38):

    What do you propose exactly?

    1) Killing Gadaffi with bombers or cruise missiles?
    ...Not likely to work, didn't work with Saddam either.

    2) Make a strategic strike to Tripoli and take over the Gadaffi regime?
    ...Black Hawk down.

    So exactly what?

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  • 51. At 2:44pm on 26 Feb 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    #46 margaret howard
    A conservative figure puts the numbers at over 150,000 people, 80% of them civilians. No doubt you could find the figures of how many people have been killed worldwide by US/UK interference since WW2 if you searched the internet.

    Iraq Body count which is an anti-Iraq-War organisation founded in response to a US general proclaiming 'we don't do body counts' puts the current figure at 99712 - 108,866.

    That includes all of the people killed by al Qaeda and the insurgents in Iraq. A recent study concludes that around 12% of those were killed by Coalition forces. That means around 12,000 people. That includes the period of the start of the war.

    In Operation Anfal in 1988, Saddam Hussein's army killed roughly 180,000 Kurdish people"When Kurdish leaders met with Iraqi government officials in the wake of the spring 1991 uprising, they raised the question of the Anfal dead and mentioned a figure of 182,000 -- a rough extrapolation based on the number of destroyed villages. Ali Hassan al-Majid reportedly jumped to his feet in a rage when the discussion took this turn. 'What is this exaggerated figure of 182,000?' he is said to have asked. 'It couldn't have been more than 100,000' -- as if this somehow mitigated the catastrophe that he and his subordinates had visited on the Iraqi Kurds."

    The war with the Kurds continued until it was stopped in 1991 by the no-fly zones. Similarly, the war against the southern Shi'a was only stopped by a no-fly zone.

    It is no coincidence that these massacres of Kurds and Shi'a were in the north and south of the country. That is where the oil is. Operation Anfal was expressly created by Saddam Hussein to clear the areas around the northern oilfields.

    It was not over. It was just delayed by the no-fly zones.

    At 40 you detail the oil and arms deals of France and Russia in some detail. Any figures for the USA/UK?

    After the Iraq War, Iraqi oil rights were managed by Hassan Shahristani, one of the more honest of Iraqi ministers. They were sold at very stiff terms by televised public auction. The bidders will not be paid for anything up to the minimum production level - but they say how much they want to be paid for each barrel produced above the minimum, and also predict how much oil they will be able to produce.

    From that, the auctioneers pick a winning bidder.

    However, there is another twist. In a red envelope, the auctioneers have the maximum amount that the oil ministry is prepared to pay.

    Those amounts were significantly less than the oil companies were asking for, so the winning bidders were asked to cut their prices.

    In the case of the Rumaila field, Exxon Mobil declined to accept the ministry's maximum payment, but BP and CNPC, which had originally asked for $4 a barrel, agreed to do the work for $2 a barrel.


    BP is British Petroleum which was in a consortium with CNPC which is the China National Petroleum Company, the Chinese state oil company.

    Another round of bidding was won by Shell in a consortium with CNPC. You see the trend ?

    In fact CNPC got the first oil service deal in Iraq (in 2008) which was a pre-war deal resurrected by the Iraq government. China's state-owned oil firm CNPC has agreed a $3bn (£1.63bn) oil services contract with the government of Iraq.

    The two parties renegotiated a 1997 deal to pump oil from the Ahdab oilfield, the Iraqi oil minister said.

    Under the new deal, output from the oilfield will be 110,000 barrels per day, up from the 90,000 barrels forecast in the original deal.

    The deal is the first major oil contract with a foreign firm since the US-led war in Iraq, reports say.

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  • 52. At 3:05pm on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    powermeer

    Black evening.
    White snow.
    Wind, wind!
    A man doesn't stand on legs.
    Wind, wind!
    In all god's green earth - wind.

    The wind is swirling white snow,
    Under the snow is ice.
    Slippery, tricky
    Every walker slides
    - Oh, poor darling!

    From building to building
    A rope put tight.
    On the rope - a poster:
    "All power to the People's council!"

    A babushka. Is despairing, crying.
    Can't understand what it means.
    What for such a huge poster? Such a big piece of cloth?
    There'd be so many leg ties, for boys, cut out of it
    For everyone is - undressed, barefeet...

    Babushka, as a hen, hardy hopped over, over a snow-pile :o)
    'Oh, St.Mary help, Oh those bolsheviks will drive us into coffin!"

    The wind is striky!
    The frost doesn't get behind.
    And a bourgeoise, at the cross-roads,
    Hid his nose into a high coat collar. :o)

    And who's that? Long hair,
    And speaking in half-voice:
    "Predators! Russia has perished!"
    Must be a writer. A talker :o)

    And there is a priest, long coat flaps
    By side, by side, hides behind a snow-pile.
    Why so unhappy today, tovarisch priest? :o))))

    Don't you remember, how you used to go, belly forward?
    And by cross has shined, your belly, onto folks? :o))))

    ..
    Late evening. The street gets empty.
    Only one hobo is ? crouching his shouders.
    And wind is whistling...

    Hey, poor body, come over, let's kiss!

    Bread! Give me bread!
    What's ahead?
    Don't stop, pass!

    Dark, dark sky.

    Anger, black anger, boils up in breast...
    Dark anger. Holy anger.

    Tovarsich! Watch out!
    ...

    Freedom, freedom!

    Hey-hey, without a cross!

    Tra-ta-ta!

    ....

    Around - lights, lights, lights.
    Across the shoulder - gun straps.
    Revolutionary keep the step!
    Un-resting doesn't sleep the enemy!

    Tovarisch, hold the gun, don't chicken out
    Let's fire by gun into Holy Rus'!
    Into lazy, into fat-bottomed, into sleepy one!
    ;o))))
    Hey-hey, - without a cross!

    ...
    As there went our chaps, in the Red Guardia to serve
    In the Red Guardia to serve,
    Their wild heads to be wooshed out!

    Hey you, bitter grief bittery,
    Sweet and sour life,
    Old coat torn to pieces
    And an Austrian gun!

    - "We, to grief of all the bourgeoisie,
    A world fire will blow out;

    A world fire, drowned in blood,
    Jesus! Have a mercy on us all!"

    ....

    Snow whirls, the coachman shouts,
    Van'ka with Kat'ka fly ahead!
    An electric light on the carriage front!
    Ah, ah, get out of the way, fall down!

    He, in military coat, with an idiotic face :o)
    Is rolling, rolling his black moustache!
    Rolling, rolling, joking with her, joking...

    wow Van'ka! he's a pleaser!
    wow, Van'ka, he's wide-shouldered!
    Katya-fool :o))) he is embracing
    Talking fooling her...

    She has fallen back down by face
    Teeth are shining like pearls...
    Ah you, Katya, oh my Katya,
    Fat-round facey one! :o)))))

    On you neck, Katya, a scar didn't yet heal from knife
    Under your breast, Katya, that scratch is still fresh!

    Hey, hey - dance, dance!
    Your legs are too good!

    Lace and silk you used to wear
    - Wear, wear, wear it!
    With the officers you sinned
    - With a soldier now went!
    Hey-hey, let's sin!
    Heart has stumbled in the breast.

    Do'you remember, Katya, your officer?
    He didn't go away from my knife.
    Oh, you can't remember anything?
    Isn't your memory fresh any more?
    Eh, eh! Refresh it up!
    Put me sleep together with you!
    Eh, eh - let's sin!
    Will be easier for the soul!

    ....

    Close, close up the stores!
    Today's night there will be robs!
    Open, open up the cellars!
    Tonight are having fun the poor!
    ....

    You do not hear the city's bustle
    Over Neva's tower silence fell
    And there isn't any more policemen
    Tonight we are drunk without wine!

    A bourgeouise is standing on the cross-roads,
    Having hidden his nose into colar.
    And nearby him, is pressing to his leg, by hard fur, a no-name dog.

    The bourgoise stands, as a hungry dog,
    He's standing speechless, as a question mark.
    And Old World, as no-name doggie,
    Is standing beside him, tail between legs.
    ...


    etc. etc.

    February 1918. St. Petersburg. Alexander Block.

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  • 53. At 3:05pm on 26 Feb 2011, Chris wrote:

    Oh no, now that Cameron went to Egypt all will fine there, we do not need the EU just send Cameron! What kind of a badly thought out argument was that??? He went there because he was in the "hood" to sell British weapons at an arms bazzar held somewhere in the middle east (those arms will be used to suppress the local population of cause). Having the French president & the German foreign affairs minister, say whatever they said fat lot of difference it made!

    If anything this article should finish with something like "Thank god we have the EU, because, no one nation in Europe amounts to anything at all by itself these days"

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  • 54. At 3:07pm on 26 Feb 2011, BluesBerry wrote:

    Before the United States gets done with it imperialistic objectives, Europe will be twisted into a pretzel; it will remain that way until it figures out that the Americans are not worthy of a Coalition of the Willing and the EU should let them go their imperialistic, war-monghering way ALONE.
    The United States government needs war.
    A Pentagon spokesman said that the US is looking at all options from the military side. Never forget: the Pentagon is already responsible for one million dead Iraqis and an unknown number of dead Afghans and Pakistanis. So tell me why the United States is seriously concerned about 1,000 Libyans dead (if that is really the number).
    The Pentagon is also twisted, trying to figure out how to get involved in the Libyan revolt, while appearing as the "savior".
    Here's a good question for the Pentagon: Is the Commander of US forces in the Pacific developing a new battle plans to take on China on her home turf. Four-star Admiral Robert Willard believes, has expressed, that the US should be able to "whip China in its own coastal waters".
    The admiral thinks the way to begin this war is to add US Marines to his force so that the US can eject Chinese forces from "disputed" islands in the East and South China seas. That should make the Chinese "sea" red.
    Four-star Admiral Robert Willard says that India is a natural partner - at least until India is no longer needed. India, the admiral says, “crucial to America’s 21st-century strategy of balancing China.” Balancing China? Well, that's an interesting way to put the situation.
    The US strategy here is to interest the Indians by selling them advanced aircraft.
    If the plan works out, The Americans will have India in NATO helping the imperialist Americans to occupy Pakistan and presenting China with a war on two fronts.
    Why does the United States need war?
    Because of the rebuilding.
    First you bomb the heck out of a country; then, you rebuild it.
    Reconstruction is lucrative, especially becayse the White House has privatized most of these projects and contracts them to American contractors, even though the quality of the rebuilding is often dubious and even though completed, quality projects are rare.
    The Commission on Wartime Contracting CANNOT SAY how much of the $200,000M in Afghan “reconstruction” has simply evaporated in corruption and crime, but $12,000M alone was lost to what the Commission admits was “overt fraud.”
    The Pentagon boys are rolling in the mega-millions.
    As General Smedley Butler told the American people (and it seems very few heard him) “war is a racket.” As long as the American population remains proud and flag-waving, war will remain a racket.
    So, for how long will Europe feel and compulsion to respond in any way to American imperialism? How long will Europe twist itself into a pretzel trying to do the right thing while the Pentagon connives for more wars, more fulfillment of the American destiny to rule the world?
    At almost all times, Europe should face inwards - away from American imperialism.

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  • 55. At 3:25pm on 26 Feb 2011, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To BluesBerry (54):

    All fine and dandy, but could we agree on not repeating one myth an over and over again...

    "First you bomb the heck out of a country; then, you rebuild it."

    The last war where the US bombed a heck out of country was Germany in WW2 and even then approx 75% of its industrial capacity was still intact after the war: there was no rebuilding of a country then as all wasn't destroyed.

    The reason why Iraw and Afghanistan are so messy places is because there weren't actually that much before the US invasion to begin with. Not to mention that thanks to smart bombs, only few places were destroyed.

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  • 56. At 3:33pm on 26 Feb 2011, Chris wrote:

    @#25. At 09:19am on 26 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    Gavin's post is actually quite wrong.

    You got it spot on, it looks like in its rush to get out the message "Blame the EU for the fall of our empire" it forgot to check basic facts. I.e. Why was Cameron in the middle east? How many millions worth of weapons did we sell to Libya in the last few years? How many millions in bankers bonus were paid to our bankers for services they provided to Cadafi and or Mubarack?

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  • 57. At 3:35pm on 26 Feb 2011, Freeborn John wrote:

    WebAlice (47): I understand UN is only talking about sanctions against the Gadaffi family like a travel ban, or reinstating arms embargo like the one lifted in 2004. Nothing practical that would really stop the government attacks on civilians like a no-fly zone over Libya and safe-haven regions protected on the ground by peacekeeepers from the UN or nearby Arab countries.

    Getting agreement in UNSC for anything concrete like that looks challenging and Russia could be the decisive state. China will likely not veto anything alone, but considering it's own Tiajanmen Square history would probably be happy if Russia were to ensure no effective UN action. France will be happy to grand-stand by co-authoring the Resolution (no matter what it says). 

    Putin seems not to want democratic governments to emerge in North Africa, believing that elections in Iran, Palestine, Chechnya (1991?) led to chaos. Maybe he also remembers that Breznev-era slogan about 'worldwide revolution starting from Africa' and does not want the likes of Hamas winning elections along Russia's southern borders? It could be an unholy alliance of Russian fear of Islamic radicalism in Caucases and Chinese not wanting precedents for UN intervention in their next crack-down in Tiajanamen Square or Lhasa will prevent effective UN protection of innocent Libyan protesters here. But US&UK should be optimistic and push as hard as possible for concrete implementation of the 'duty to protect' Libyans from Gadaffi.

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  • 58. At 3:41pm on 26 Feb 2011, Chris wrote:

    BluesBerry said:

    "So tell me why the United States is seriously concerned about 1,000 Libyans dead"

    Very good question, what makes a Libyan's life that much more valuable than lets say a Palestinian life????

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  • 59. At 3:47pm on 26 Feb 2011, Chris wrote:

    57. At 3:35pm on 26 Feb 2011, Freeborn John

    What about

    a) "the duty to protect Palestinians from Israel"?
    b) "the duty to protect Tibetans from China"?
    c) "the duty to protect the karen from Burma"?
    d) "the duty to protect Westen Papua from Indonisia"?
    e) .... etc. etc.

    I could throw in there Afghanistan from us also, but I will leave that one out.

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  • 60. At 3:55pm on 26 Feb 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    #54 Bluesberry
    Here's a good question for the Pentagon: Is the Commander of US forces in the Pacific developing a new battle plans to take on China on her home turf. Four-star Admiral Robert Willard believes, has expressed, that the US should be able to "whip China in its own coastal waters".

    The Washington Times has given a lot of column inches to the study you are referring to yet they somehow missed that quote. They say
    John J. Tkacik Jr., a former State Department China hand, said what Adm. Willard did not say is that “India is crucial to America’s 21st-century strategy of balancing China.”

    “Our existing alliance relationships, especially with Japan and Australia, are simply not up to the strain of China‘s growing power, and bringing India into the balancing equation will mean the difference between a new century governed by rule-of-law and democratic principles or one dominated by Beijing’s winner-take-all brand of state mercantilism and repressive authoritarianism,” Mr. Tkacik said.

    Mr. Tkacik said that recently disclosed State Department cables reveal that China is a serious conventional warfare and nuclear concern among Asian states, “but no one dares say it out loud.”


    On your assertion "...the Pentagon is already responsible for one million dead Iraqis..." perhaps your source is Muammar Gaddafi ? In fact he said in his recent speech that the USA had killed '2 or 3 million' people in Iraq

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  • 61. At 3:58pm on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Dear moderators, @52; don't we all like poetry? Self-translated (with much pain :o)))), right now, 15 minutes fresh own translation, of a muti-page poem, "The Twelve" (12), by Alexander Block, extracts, year 1918, February, in particular; seems all clean. No relatives of Block existing, dear moderators, mind it. No children were ever, all safe in this respect.
    And the purpose in this thread is me explaining powermeer pleasures of a revolution (questionable pleasures, as is seen), in reply to his call for a revolution at post No 35.

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  • 62. At 4:03pm on 26 Feb 2011, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To ChrisArta (59):

    You forgot the most important one...

    "the duty to protect oil"

    We must protect the oil or the terrorist will get it!

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  • 63. At 4:14pm on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Freeborn John,

    ours are scared of course, over these revolutions, projecting this onto themselves.
    (Less scared than China is, still. China gets very picky and nervous when someone supports dissent.)

    Ours are more relaxed :o)))))), and far less careful, let's simply say will be un-willing to encourage ground revolutions.

    Another thing if something big and scary in terms of fire at civillians is revealed with any sort of proof. Ours love to behave noble and show around, especially elections coming, and loosing popularity at home.

    And "protection" is a Russian traditional key-word. On "protection" angle the US and UK can get Russia's consent in the security council.

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  • 64. At 4:19pm on 26 Feb 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    #61 WebAliceinwonderland
    I found a translation here, I don't know how good the translation is.

    I read the poem. I like it, even in English.

    It's very atmospheric.

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  • 65. At 4:22pm on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Interesting, we've got an anonimous as is often in internet, a visitor, to an Echo of moscow Internet site, a member of special forces, elite troops, in Russia, the ones, whose duty is to choke revolutions at home exactly, in case of anything ;o) An Interior Ministry department.

    Well, that officer the audience is bombarding with the same question for a week already: "Tell us, no tell us honestly - will you shoot at the people in case of a revolution in Russia? Will you shoot real arms, tell us, what are the moods in your department!"

    He swirls like an eel on a hot pan :o)))), trying not to answer direct.
    "Read the Law on police function"; "we never so far applied water machines and crying gas in Russia on protestors once", etc. etc - but does not answer direct.

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  • 66. At 4:28pm on 26 Feb 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    #62 Jukka Rohila
    You forgot the most important one...

    "the duty to protect oil"

    We must protect the oil or the terrorist will get it!


    Nope, the Chinese always get it.

    Including oil rights in Darfur (this is from 2008).
    China's thirst for oil is causing bloodshed. So says New York-based nongovernmental organization Human Rights First, which on Mar. 13 released a report linking China's rising imports of Sudanese oil with sales of Chinese small weapons to Khartoum, used to further the deadly conflict in the western region of Darfur. The report is part of a broader campaign called Made in China: Stop Arms Sales to Sudan, timed to coincide with the runup to the Beijing Olympics in August. "China's huge appetite for oil from Sudan filled Khartoum's coffers, enabling Sudan to buy Chinese arms," says Betsy Apple, a Human Rights First program director and author of the report. "It's a toxic oil-for-arms relationship." Apple says the group is calling for China to halt arms sales to Sudan immediately.

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  • 67. At 4:40pm on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Clive Hill,
    thank you.
    Mine was far better! :o)))))) With the rhythm; and nerve. That one is a big vague, stretched. While the original is jumpy.
    can't repeat :o))), it was a fit of ? inspiration :o)

    I love Alexander Block, our St. Petersburger, and I'm glad you caught the atmosphere.
    I've got his book of poetry inter?-mitted with slips of papers, in favourite pages, and it is like a brush of them those ends :o))))), sticking up out of the tome :o)))

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  • 68. At 5:13pm on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Comrades! :o) No 52 is back. I guess in punishment for my boasting :o))))
    Thank you, moderators.

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  • 69. At 5:53pm on 26 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #54 BluesBerry


    "As General Smedley Butler told the American people (and it seems very few heard him) “war is a racket.” As long as the American population remains proud and flag-waving, war will remain a racket."

    ---very true, but the thought compartmentalization extends to most (if not all) aspects of the American dream and psyche.

    I have yet to see non-Americans pushing a shopping-cart to their sleeping quarters under a bridge and proudly claiming their country is the best in the world.

    ---the brain-washing is complete.


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  • 70. At 5:54pm on 26 Feb 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    #68 WebAliceinwonderland

    Only for you, Alice, only for you.

    I have never seen a post resurrected before.

    Resurrection suits the poem.

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  • 71. At 6:05pm on 26 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #46 - margaret howard

    You are doing it again. A conservative figure from where Margaret? Vaque quotes, unattributable information, unverifiable statistics.

    The 150,000 figure. So why don't you go Wiki and have a look at their comparative figures. And surprise, surprise - your 150,000 is probably a pretty good mean average of total casualties. The vast majority of these by which ever set of figures you look at is the the result of Iraqis killing each other.

    Now if you are going to make outrageous and spurious claims about the number of deaths caused by the so called 'coalition of the willing', you first of all have to take out all those who were not killed by coalition forces, then you have to factor in the fact that the British and Americans do not make up the entire force, then you have to substantiate the net figure with hard statistics (nowhere near 150,000 by the way) and then you have to quote your sources.

    What is so sad about all this Margaret is there people out here who actually agree with you are are offended that the case should be made on our behalf using figures taken out of the sky. Justify them or with draw.

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  • 72. At 6:37pm on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Clive Hill, yes, I feel a predator ;o(. What will cool-brush say.
    And other principled fellows. :o)))))))))
    I'm so sneaky, I know. Took exclamation signs out, of the original message :o)))))

    meanwhile have to distract; we've been thrown a bone, in voting :o)))), are to elect Olympics' symbol tonight. On offer are 2 bears (old 1980-s brown and new one, white), one dolphin, one rabbit, one snow-star, one leopard :o))))) and will see what else.

    National two favourites are aready out, thrown away by government!
    Real elections, must say ;o)

    Father Frost ;o))), and that fish-sow, with a peculiar nose a fish, as a symbol of "sawing money" (splitting/cutting away state funds), in the process of Olympic stadiums construction :o))))

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  • 73. At 6:44pm on 26 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    71 threnodio writes:
    "You are doing it again. A conservative figure from where Margaret? Vaque quotes, unattributable information, unverifiable statistics."


    You've got a point - figures are bandied about and you takes your pick. For instance at 54 BluesBerry writes:

    "... the Pentagon is already responsible for one million dead Iraqis and an unknown number of dead Afghans and Pakistanis."
    And at 60 Clive Hill writes about Gaddafi:
    "In fact he said in his recent speech that the USA had killed '2 or 3 million' people in Iraq."
    The figures I quoted are generally accepted to be quite on the conservative side. Maybe the question you should be asking yourself is "How many Iraqis would have died without our interference" or better still, "Do the Iraqis now see us as liberators or despoilers of their country?"
    -----------------------
    Finally you maintain:
    "What is so sad about all this Margaret is there people out here who actually agree with you are are offended that the case should be made on our behalf using figures taken out of the sky. Justify them or with draw."
    If you think it is so important to work out the exact numbers of the dead (from what totally independent sources I do not know but you claim nowhere near 150,000 according to your own estimates) then maybe you could oblige us all and work those numbers out for us (and don't forget to quote your sources).

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  • 74. At 6:47pm on 26 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #72 - WebAliceinwonderland

    Sounds exciting Alice. Top two national favourites ruled out by the government? Do you think they might do the same thing at the next election?

    Putin and Medvedev? Much too popular - not allowed to stand - yeah, right. Let's hear if for democracy. If you are interested, there is a proper election going on in Ireland.

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  • 75. At 7:01pm on 26 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    Ah the great projects of the Eurosceptics.

    Let's stay divided and insignificant. Let's hanker for the days of our lost empires (yes, that's plural), when we could sow genocide and plunder at will.

    Let's not try to pool our limited resources, the only way to get a place at the top table.

    No, we should focus all our energy towards navel gazing, and dwell in the realms of our 19th century desires, based on an absurd concept of "sovereignty".

    Positive contribution? None.

    Ideas for the future? None.

    Intellectual rigor? Patently absent.

    Circular reasoning and blindness to facts? The basis for pretty much all of their "judgments".

    Do they support the Arab revolution, the most significant event since 9/11 (and the perfect answer to it, instead of the US-lead invasion into Iraq)? No, they prefer to dabble in irrelevant name-calling about their self-declared "democratic" values (which they are not).

    No wonder there's such a thing as europessimism - they are its core and necessity. They should be ignored, because they blur the view to a Europe that understands and acts on what actually happens in the 21st century.

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  • 76. At 7:51pm on 26 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #73 - margaret howard

    So, you are too damned lazy to do your own research, want me to do it for you and then expect me to copy and paste the contents of other web pages to save you the trouble.

    OK, as I said, Wiki it.

    The largest estimate by far is one from Opinion Research Business which puts a figure of 1,033,000 as a total but these are casualties but not all fatalities. The lancet survey has the highest estimate of violent deaths at 601,027. The Iraq Body Count comes in at 98,170 — 107,152 civilian deaths and a combined figure of 150,726 civilian and combatant deaths. The Iraq Family health Survey quotes 151,000 while the clasified logs leaked by Wikileaks is 109,032 - all, of which you were quite capable of checking out for yourself.

    Now I am damned if I am going to do the maths for you but there is general agreement that, whatever total figure you take as gospel, 22,000 to 24,000 died as a result of the insurgency - as I said in my previous post, Iraqis killing each other. Criminal and political violence accounts for about 4,200 people a year in Baghdad alone but lets be 'conservative' and take that as a annual national figure. That is 8 years at, say, 20,000 a year is 160,000. So we are now up to 184,000 people who were definitely not killed by the alliance. Well if your figures are right, we actually saved 34,000 people but even I doubt that. Oh and there is the small question of 4,718 allied casualties (fatalities) and 1,734 people who killed themselves in suicide bombings.

    We could go on plying with these figures for ever but, which ever way you cut it, the idea that the Americans and British were directly responsible for 150,000 Iraqi deaths is the precisely the kind of irresponsible claptrap we are are familiar with from you.

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  • 77. At 8:21pm on 26 Feb 2011, Chris wrote:

    threnodio_II (76)

    You made it sound good :)

    Although the way to reach those numbers, is somewhat off beat! So you are telling us that the Iraq population was using their democratic rights to kill eachother.

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  • 78. At 8:22pm on 26 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    There is a horrible error in the above post for which I apologize and which I can only put done to hasty copying and pasting. 4,200 people a year over 8 years is, of course 33,600 which makes a nonsense of the sentence which follows.

    However, the thrust of the argument is essentially the same. A very significant proportion of the estimated casualty figures are self evidently not victims of direct allied action.

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  • 79. At 8:25pm on 26 Feb 2011, Inglenda2 wrote:

    While agreeing, that Europe tends to spend more time on trying to sort out internal differences, than finding a common foreign policy, the war mongering in which Britain indulges is hardly likely to improve the situation.
    To really be of help to citizens of countries outside the EU, (such as Libya), we first need a basis of human rights which all Europeans accept. In order achieve this goal, not only a common currency, but also the social and tax systems within the Union would have to be brought in line. Unfortunately The habit of Britain, to put on the brakes, while others are trying to drive forwards, make this objective almost impossible.

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  • 80. At 8:38pm on 26 Feb 2011, Scotch Git wrote:

    #13

    quietoaktree,

    Very funny. It is your sense of humour that endears you to me.


    #75

    Manneken,

    "They should be ignored, because they blur the view to a Europe that understands and acts on what actually happens in the 21st century."

    European democracy in a nutshell.

    Feel free to ignore this...

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  • 81. At 8:39pm on 26 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #77 - ChrisArta

    Not at all. Believe it or not, I actually agree with the point Margaret is making. All I am saying is that her allegation that American and British forces are directly responsible for 150,000 Iraqi fatalities is demonstrably untrue.

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  • 82. At 8:40pm on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Yes, we are unprincipled, confirmed :o) Top winning three symbols became the Olympic symbol "all at once" :o))))))), "in order not to quarrel". A white bear, a leopard and a modest white hare.

    I SMS-ed for the dolphin (Black Sea after all :o), don't remember any polar bears there, hares on the beach or any leopards either ;o)))))) Palm-trees, mostly. But Putin - watch it out, threnodio, was shown earlier today on TV saying "I like leopard the best", and that cat got now top 28%. Life-like eections, as I said :o))))
    I'm afraid we are a bit too far from a revolution, powermeer, let's get back to Africa.

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  • 83. At 8:47pm on 26 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #79 - Inglenda2

    We have the European Convention of Human Rights, we have ECJ, there is a broad measure of agreement among the 27 as to what does and does not constitute the basic rights of citizens and, for the most part, we are pretty damned good at making these work on a day to day basis.

    Please tell us:

    1. What on earth a single currency and a unified social and tax system has to do with basic human rights.

    2. When did the 'war mongering' British last start a war with anyone?

    Thank you.

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  • 84. At 9:19pm on 26 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    sorry; can't quiet down. It gets kind of clinical!
    Before the final count-down in internet surveys lead Father Frost (is taken away last minute), white bear (brown bear of 1980 who got grey-haired due to troubles since that), and "dolphin on skis" (feels right. as for the winter Olympics is chosen the absolute climatic maximum WARMEST place in Russia).
    Then Putin says "I like leopard" - wins leopard.
    We can't even vote for the Olympic symbol it seems.

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  • 85. At 9:32pm on 26 Feb 2011, Tim0thy wrote:

    #6 Freeborn John

    "But are the US and UK still prepared to bare global resposnability"

    You you really prepared to bear responsibility for writing the above?

    Or would you prefer to be naked and resposnable?


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  • 86. At 9:37pm on 26 Feb 2011, Tim0thy wrote:

    #75 Manneken

    Exactly, in a nutshell, my criticism of the Sceptic (or should that be septic?) Fringe they have no vision or alternative they only criticize.

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  • 87. At 9:44pm on 26 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    Alice -

    'The leopard was once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, but its range of distribution has decreased radically because of hunting and loss of habitat. It is now chiefly found in sub-Saharan Africa; there are also fragmented populations in Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Malaysia, and China'. (Wiki)

    Oh I see - Putin wants to re-introduce the leopard to Russia. Well lets hear it for conservation and biodiversity as well as democracy!

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  • 88. At 9:47pm on 26 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #85 - Tim0thy

    Not "really, really prepared"? :-)

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  • 89. At 10:21pm on 26 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #86 - Tim0thy
    #75 Manneken

    Does it not occur to either of you that some of us who are currently so critical of the EU's performance are not Eurosceptic at all? Surely the handling of Libya is as much proof as you need of the current leadership's ineptitude. Mark Mardell sums up the US position in his blog - "The US is also hoping other countries, particularly the EU, will join in . . . ".

    Some hope! The British and the French have been firm. The Germans have pontificated but done nothing, the Italians are not sure which side their bread is buttered and are hedging their bets. Where is NATO in all this? Nowhere to be seen. Until the EU is up to the mark, NATO is the only real option and some of we EU enthusiasts are getting more than a little fed up with the failure of our great family of nations to deliver anything of value.

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  • 90. At 10:57pm on 26 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    threnodio;

    "1. What on earth a single currency and a unified social and tax system has to do with basic human rights.

    2. When did the 'war mongering' British last start a war with anyone?"

    The thing is, you know the answer to both those questions , but your recipient doesn't know or doesn't care, because he's drugged up to the eyeballs of EU fantasy land.

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  • 91. At 11:03pm on 26 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #89

    threnodio;

    "The Germans have pontificated but done nothing, the Italians are not sure which side their bread is buttered and are hedging their bets"

    Between them, they get 50% of Libya's oil. Call me an old cynic but...

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  • 92. At 11:35pm on 26 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    76 threnodio writes:
    "So, you are too damned lazy to do your own research, want me to do it for you and then expect me to copy and paste the contents of other web pages to save you the trouble."

    No, that's the last thing I want you to do for me. Oh dear, irony seems to escape you. I certainly didn't want you to waste your time or bore us all with those figures. As I said at 74, figures are bandied about and you takes your pick.
    You go on to say:
    "We could go on plying with these figures for ever but, which ever way you cut it, the idea that the Americans and British were directly responsible for 150,000 Iraqi deaths is the precisely the kind of irresponsible claptrap we are are familiar with from you."
    So after all that searching, how many thousand civilians were killed by the allies? And do you think they would have wanted to die for the cause the allies had chosen for them or more important still, were they ever asked? And are they free and happy now that it is all over?

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  • 93. At 11:40pm on 26 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    57 Freeborn writes:
    "But US&UK should be optimistic and push as hard as possible for concrete implementation of the 'duty to protect' Libyans from Gadaffi."

    They couldn't even protect the Irish people from the IRA until they eventually bought them off.

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  • 94. At 01:45am on 27 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    threnodio, I somehow think more about non-dry-cleaning spots :o)
    And everyone else here, unaware of this English saying, seems to be thinking 3 toys instead of 1 is a good idea, as fitting traditional vodka bottle sharing "per three". The approach is trained to perfection, exactness "as in the pharmacy", by sound and time, blind distribution :o))))))))

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  • 95. At 04:22am on 27 Feb 2011, generalissimo-II wrote:

    Well Gavin, how can we intervene successfully in Libya, in Egypt and in Tunisia in order to achieve what David Cameron said (namely: "Britain, through the United Nations, is pressing for asset seizures, for travel bans, for sanctions, for all of the things that we can do to hold those people to account, including investigating for potential crimes against humanity or war crimes, or crimes against their people."), when it is evident that the British government prefers to engage the UN rather than the EU.
    There is still an urgent need of a consensus among the 27 member states over the concrete steps to be taken in order to control the flow of immigrants, the evacuation of the EU citizens, the re-establishment of new kind of relationship with the Arab public authorities, etc., etc. True, a new “Marshal plan” seems to be quickly implemented in order to redress the economies of the said countries /just like the gradual EU enlargement to the East helped to stabilise the continent of Europe/. But have we enough time to do that?
    Regards

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  • 96. At 06:32am on 27 Feb 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    #92 margaret howard
    ...As I said at 74, figures are bandied about and you takes your pick....

    No, you don't. I pointed out the Iraq Body Count at #51. They are the only people who use real data from Iraqi morgues and other reports. Their figures recently increased as a result of wikileaks.

    They indicate 99712 - 108,866

    All of the other studies have suffered a fatal flaw. They are based on samples - 'clusters' in the jargon. The first Johns Hopkins study (known as 'The Lancet' study), for instance which estimated 100,000 deaths was based on 21 actual deaths.

    There have been several such studies and the more clusters they use, the more their numbers converge on the Iraq Body Count figure.

    That figure includes all of those killed by non-Coalition forces. As I also pointed out in that post, a recent study shows that 12% of those killed were killed by Coalition forces, which puts those killed by the Coalition at 12,000-13,000.

    #76 threnodio_II
    Beware of research like 'Opinion Research Business' opinion polls in Iraq because (a) Most Iraqis are not used to the anonymity of opinion polls and (b) there is the possibility of compensation for death and injury in Iraq. In short, it can pay to be shot by Coalition troops.

    #92 margaret howard
    ...And do you think they would have wanted to die for the cause the allies had chosen for them or more important still, were they ever asked? And are they free and happy now that it is all over?

    They are more free and happy than they have ever been.

    Are you going to suggest that Saddam Hussein asked them what they wanted ? He killed at least 250,000 of them. See post #51.

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  • 97. At 06:41am on 27 Feb 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    #93 margaret howard
    They couldn't even protect the Irish people from the IRA until they eventually bought them off.

    The IRA leadership eventually realised that people should not be dying for a united Ireland.

    They were not 'bought off'. Indeed, until now, I had not even heard such a suggestion.

    The most famous purchase in English history was surely Scotland - or have you not heard of the 'parcel of rogues' ?
    Article 15, the Equivalent granted £398,085 10s sterling to Scotland to offset future liability towards the English national debt. In essence, it was also used as a means of compensation for investors in the Darien Scheme.

    So Scotland was bought for about four hundred thousand quid. Of course, you can bandy numbers about...

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  • 98. At 08:09am on 27 Feb 2011, Tim0thy wrote:

    #89 threnodio_II

    I do actually understand and completely sympathise with you. My point being that to a large extent the EU is being held back by the naysayers, the sceptics. The need to deal with constant negative criticism with no positive feedback from these people is, in my view, acting as a massive brake on the EU's development.
    I feel there is a lot wrong within the current structure of the EU but that if you are going to criticise you should provide an alternative plan or structure. This pathetic little Engerlander harking back to the artificially rose coloured past is just that 'pathetic' and of no value

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  • 99. At 08:57am on 27 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    #89
    I agree with your analysis that the european leadership is weak and divided.

    As in every democracy, we don't have the leaders we need, but the leaders we deserve.

    Next question: what to do about it? Dividing more seems terribly stupid.

    Part of the solution is to work on small changes within the current system to make it more transparent and accountable.

    Making the vote in the counsel public would help. Organizing more debate ("fights") on decision making at EU level would help.

    Pooling together defense (e.g. on procurement) would help.

    Getting rid of Ashton and putting someone there who is actually competent would help.

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  • 100. At 09:05am on 27 Feb 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    #98 Tim0thy
    I feel there is a lot wrong within the current structure of the EU but that if you are going to criticise you should provide an alternative plan or structure. This pathetic little Engerlander harking back to the artificially rose coloured past is just that 'pathetic' and of no value

    I must say I've never seen a post on here 'harking back to a rose coloured past'.

    The irony that you miss is that you are not trying to eliminate the nation state - so deplored by Manneken, for instance - you are trying to create another, bigger nation state like the USA.

    How does that help the world ?

    The alternative is to try and encourage global structures for example the World Bank; the UN; the ICC; the WTO and the IMF but there are several others.

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  • 101. At 09:09am on 27 Feb 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #97. At 06:41am on 27 Feb 2011, Clive Hill,

    They were done, they should have used the money to strengthen Hadrian's wall so that the likes of MH, numerous politicians like Gordon McClown and vociferous trade union leaders could have been kept out of England.

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  • 102. At 09:18am on 27 Feb 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #25. At 09:19am on 26 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    "Gavin's post is actually quite wrong.

    The EU is doing what it does best, which is coordinating between the member-states, and make sure they don't duplicate efforts or hinder each other.

    Vastly underrepresented in the British press, but most evacuation was done by military actions of the EU nations under coordination by the EU. That is how it should be - and that is where the EU adds a lot of value. It is no coincidence that the citizens, when asked, indicate to military coordination and integration as one of the main area's where the EU can add value."

    I see the insignificant little statue is back, making wild bizarre assertions as to the merits of his beloved EU and claiming the EU is coordinating the Libyan crisis response, just who exactly is that, as there are so many useless bodies within the EU it could be any one of them, and as as each only protects its own future the concept of coordinating even a tea party is well, quite absurd. As for the military actions to evacuate civilians, if there was any coordination it would have been Nato that was involved, not some faceless bureaucrat from Baroness Whatshername's expensive (and unnecessary) foreign office.

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  • 103. At 09:36am on 27 Feb 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #98. At 08:09am on 27 Feb 2011, Tim0thy wrote:

    "I feel there is a lot wrong within the current structure of the EU but that if you are going to criticise you should provide an alternative plan or structure. This pathetic little Engerlander harking back to the artificially rose coloured past is just that 'pathetic' and of no value"

    If there is anyone being what you call a "pathetic little Engerlander", (note your misspelling) then it is people like you, who see only a "artificially rose coloured" future from the EU. If there is one lesson that needs to be learnt from the current problems in North Africa and the Arab world it is that rather than having to revolt to change an autocratic corrupt state after it has been created, it is better to ensure it was never allowed to form as such in the first place. That is the situation with the EU in its current form, in its indecent haste to ever closer integration its politicians are intent on creating a new monster that the citizens will eventually have to revolt against in order to regain their freedom and stop the inherent corruption.

    As to the constant demand for alternatives there are a number of possibilities including a confederation, the exact details can be decided by negotiations between the independent nation states. Whether these plans would work is impossible to predict as only the past is certain, but one this is clear and that it is the past that shows the EU as currently constructed does not work.

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  • 104. At 09:42am on 27 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #102

    buzet23;

    "I see the insignificant little statue is back, making wild bizarre assertions as to the merits of his beloved EU and claiming the EU is coordinating the Libyan crisis response,"

    Some people will convince themselves of anything. Hey,perhaps the Monitoring and Information Centre is now in charge of coordinating the actions of the RAF and HMS Cumberland and York?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12589779

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  • 105. At 09:53am on 27 Feb 2011, Tim0thy wrote:

    #103 Buzet23

    I see many of the anti EU fringe as similar to England football supporters busily shouting Engerland Engerland, so spelling not a mistake, and I suspect you understand that. Your next comment backs my assertions and at least I'll give you credit for suggesting alternatives.

    "As to the constant demand for alternatives there are a number of possibilities including a confederation, the exact details can be decided by negotiations between the independent nation states. Whether these plans would work is impossible to predict as only the past is certain, but one this is clear and that it is the past that shows the EU as currently constructed does not work."

    That is a great step forward in my view.

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  • 106. At 10:16am on 27 Feb 2011, Clive Hill wrote:

    #105 Tim0thy
    So you didn't even consider my alternative at #100 then ?

    Does that mean that for you, the EU is a 'given' ?

    For me, England is not a 'given' let alone the UK.

    No political structure has a God-given right to existence.

    The USSR is a good example. Once the authoritarian centre collapsed, it reverted to those structures which had evolved naturally.

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  • 107. At 10:24am on 27 Feb 2011, Huaimek wrote:

    #75 Manneken

    Your Post above is summed up completely !

    "Positive contribution ? None"

    "Ideas for the future ? None"

    " Intelectual rigor ? Patently absent"

    You criticise Eurosceptics for the euroscepticism .

    Nobody , not even your beloved EU , has attempted to put forward any constructive ideas that might help the turmoil that the north African countries are in .

    I believe I am not alone in thinking that no modern civilised Democracy will materialise in either Egypt , Tunisia , or Libya ; that neither the advice of the EU or any other individual country will have a positive effect upon the re-emergence of those countries after revolution .

    Experts in middle east affairs are of the opinion that they will all become variations of Islamic states , if not as extreme as Iran .

    The United States was probably right , that having dictators rule those countries , maintained stability in the middle east . I fear that the result of the revolution will be worse than the previous dictatorship and a great disappointment to the people of those countries .

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  • 108. At 11:05am on 27 Feb 2011, Huaimek wrote:

    #98 TimOthy

    Speaking as a little Englander ; there is an alternative plan , put forward , I believe , by John Major , when he recommended enlargement .
    British people and I believe many others across Europe would prefer the EU to be a Confederation or Commonwealth of self governing Sovereign States . Each state would manage it's own affairs and exercise its own laws . Sovereign states would be free to coordinate their ideas to a greater or lesser degree , without compulsion . There could be some freedom of movement across Europe and a free trade area . Schengen is a nonsense and more trouble than it is worth . For those of you who haven't lived in a central European state ; you may not have to show a passport to pass from one country to another , but you may be stopped many times in individual countries to show your identity . Once in Britain that does not happen . In Britain you do not have to carry an identity card or passport all the time , but on mainland Europe you do and it is an offence not to have an identity document with you ; your drivers licence is not enough .

    The original ever closer union was for six adjoining countries at the heart of western Europe , who had all been overun , defeated and occupied during WWII . To try to do the same with many countries , now 27 and more is not going to work .
    Eurosceptics are not against an united Europe , but we are against the present EU costruct , The commission EUSSR and all the extremely wasteful Brussels bureaucracy , the Euro one size fits all and universal laws . The EU is being run by people who have no foresight or perception of how things will turn out .

    The next event will be a revolution in Europe , like those in north Africa .

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  • 109. At 11:08am on 27 Feb 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #105. At 09:53am on 27 Feb 2011, Tim0thy

    Now for you to make that big step and start actually suggesting and discussing how an alternative to the current EU disaster could work, most simply come up with the usual pat response about give us proof, about something that has not even been formulated, plainly ridiculous. The first step for you was to admit the garden was not rosy in the EU, the second is to admit that there is discontent throughout the EU within its citizenship, the third is to admit that a corrupt supra national state benefits only the blood suckers called the politicians and their employees called functionaires.

    To be a functionaire (civil servant) is becoming a dirty word in many countries these days as they are seen as the privileged few having gained their posts by cronyism from corrupt politicians. You may note the similarity to the unrest in the Arab world and North Africa to this.

    The last big step after having admitted that alternatives do exist and that they can be better is to realise that most EU protesters here are not anti Europe but simply want a rotten to the core political adventure to be abandoned and a better, open, democratic cooperation to be created.

    As for the chants of 'Engerland' I guess you also include the chants of football supporters of nations throughout the EU, however, I consider football chanting to be more the province of the pro current EU crowd in that football supporters believe their team is the best in the world and will always win, until that is they are relegated and a new team/players is demanded. The current managers and players have proved they don't deserve to be even in the League of Nations, time for them to go.

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  • 110. At 11:10am on 27 Feb 2011, LadyEcon wrote:

    Any thoughts on Ireland and her election Gavin? I was just reading a blog report elsewhere on Ireland and a suggested economic policy on election day.

    It is after all in Europe unlike Libya.....

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  • 111. At 11:12am on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Clive Hill wrote in #@97: So Scotland was bought for about four hundred thousand quid. Of course, you can bandy numbers about.







    And how much did it cost BP me to get Mr. Megrahi out "on humanitarian grounds"?


    [btw. he's still very much alive and well and living in Libya]

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  • 112. At 11:17am on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    WebAliceinwonderland wrote:
    Mum says ironically Brezhnev dreams come true ;o)
    Re "worldwide revolution starting from Africa".
    I never heard but she says in her time it was top USSR dreams and a motto on all corners, African regimes collapse one after another :o)))))







    I wish Russians too studied at that notorious Patrice Lumumba Int. Uninursery in Moscow. :-))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

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  • 113. At 11:24am on 27 Feb 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #111. At 11:12am on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat

    Haven't you heard yet, it was the CIA that paid for him to be sent to Libya so that they could stage a revolt and have him eliminated in the unrest.

    What a clever plan and how amazing (for the US) that it actually seems to be working.

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  • 114. At 11:27am on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #33 and #34

    Alice,

    I wear a simple $600 Casio digital titanium job.

    My grandpa's Patek stashed in a safe, just in case somebody from the East would get and idea to 'liberate' me. :-)))

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  • 115. At 11:39am on 27 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #109

    buzet;

    f"ootball supporters believe their team is the best in the world and will always win, until that is they are relegated and a new team/players is demanded."

    Football supporters can vote with their feet. If they boo loud enough and long enough they can also get the manager sacked.

    How do we get Baroness Ashton or her bosses sacked by the way?

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  • 116. At 11:54am on 27 Feb 2011, Megan wrote:

    Er... what business is it of the EU? Or of any member states, for that matter?

    It is up to the citizens of Libya how they wish to be governed.

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  • 117. At 11:54am on 27 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #108 - Huaimek

    Well I do live in central Europe and would respond as follows:

    John Major did certainly champion enlargement and he was right. The accession states have benefited enormously but not at the expense of the west. They have provided investment opportunities which have meant - to take the automotive industry as an example - that Mercedes are now manufacturing in Hungary, VW in the Czech Republic, Renault in Slovenia - the list is a long one. It has not been one way traffic, democracy has been solidified in former Warsaw pact countries and the balance of power has swung significantly away from the Berlin Paris axis where the leadership is increasingly playing the big 'I am' to an increasingly unresponsive audience.

    Where I disagree with you is in matters such as Schengen. I have a piece of plastic which enables me to travel without interference through most EU countries and beyond, I can use it to hire a car, initiate bank transactions, proof of address. If I have a medical emergency in Portugal, they can get my medical records, if I am killed in Norway, they know I am registered as an organ doner. I don't have to queue for hours to buy petrol in Slovakia or do a bit of shopping in Vienna. Yet they know who I am and what I am doing there because of the Schengen 2 database and, in the event of confusion, my little bit of plastic explains everything in seconds. What is so wrong with that. In fact, the only place in Europe I cannot go without a damned great book at 77 quid a shot which I have to queue to produce is the nation of which I am a citizen.

    If we are ever going to make a serious examination of what is wrong with the EU, we have first to stop arguing about what is right. Mobility of labour, freedom of movement, open borders, availability of Europe wide health care are the things they have right. Where they are going horribly wrong is the absurd assertion that you can persuade 27 nations with different agendas and histories to agree on a common foreign policy, that you can have 27 nations, two of which are nuclear powers in a common defense policy with others which are constitutionally disbarred from having any nuclear systems and in which two members are permanent members of the security council and will not share that authority with the other 25.

    There will be no revolution in Europe as a whole. In some ways, we have never had it so good. What might well happen is that revolutions in individual countries which are forced to submit to unacceptable measures to suit the demands of the big players. Europe will not explode but it might well implode.

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  • 118. At 11:54am on 27 Feb 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #115. At 11:39am on 27 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie

    If the EP voting figures are anything to go by the supporters of the football team called the EU have already voted with their feet by staying away, unfortunately the owners and management team are refusing to listen to their voices. It does happen in some football teams but take heart from Liverpool, the detested owners were eventually kicked out so lets hope the grey man and Baroness Whatshername get shown the door soon.

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  • 119. At 12:05pm on 27 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #115 - champagne_charlie

    'How do we get Baroness Ashton or her bosses sacked by the way?'

    Very good question. Obviously democracy is out since she has never been elected to anything in her life (except National Treasurer of CND - that will come in handy during WWIII).

    However, Wiki tells me that she has a life sized Dalek in her sitting room so perhaps we should put batteries in it and see how she reacts to 'we will exterminate, we will exterminate'.

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  • 120. At 12:05pm on 27 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #117

    threnodio

    "Where they are going horribly wrong is the absurd assertion that you can persuade 27 nations with different agendas and histories to agree on a common foreign policy, that you can have 27 nations, two of which are nuclear powers in a common defense policy"

    One of those nuclear powers has an appalling relationship with Russia, the only credible threat to European territorial integrity:including being buzzed by bombers, mutually expelling diplomats, mutual spying , and general distrust....the other is building them 3 assault ships, an action strongly opposed by our key mutual ally the US. You just couldnt make it up.

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  • 121. At 12:11pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    43. At 1:32pm on 26 Feb 2011, phillipwest wrote:
    #33 Powermeerkat
    I would like a link to this memoir of a Crakow citizen you refer to. I live in Krakow, am quite familiar with Karmilicka Street and enjoy reading about the history of our fair city.







    It was a well known joke from the 50s, although I had a friend living at Karmelicka Street.

    My family hails from Wołyń (now western Ukraine) where it had a small estate (between Równy and Łuck) for a couple of centuries till 1917 Bolshevik putsch.

    And although I've irretrievably lost it, I was glad to see during my last year visit that Cracow (basically the only Polish town besides Sandomierz not levelled during the WWII) was doing quite well, and there was still some intelligentsia left there despite Katyn Massacre.

    Unlike in Warsaw. ;-)





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  • 122. At 12:17pm on 27 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    97 clive hill writes:
    "The IRA leadership eventually realised that people should not be dying for a united Ireland. They were not 'bought off'. Indeed, until now, I had not even heard such a suggestion."

    Oh really, what proof have you for that?
    You yourself go on to mention a previous "most famous purchase in English history was surely Scotland - or have you not heard of the 'parcel of rogues? So Scotland was bought for about four hundred thousand quid. Of course, you can bandy numbers about..."

    Indeed it was, or as Robert Burns put it:

    "We were bought and sold for English Gold,
    Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation."

    What force or guile could not subdue
    Thro' many warlike ages
    Is wrought now by a coward few
    For hireling traitor's wages.
    The English steel we could disdain,
    Secure in valour's station;
    But English gold has been our bane --
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

    O, would, or I had seen the day
    That Treason thus could sell us,
    My auld grey head had lien in clay
    Wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace!
    But pith and power, till my last hour
    I'll mak this declaration :-
    'We're bought and sold for English gold'--
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

    So as you can see for yourself, perfidious Albion has form. Maybe at this very moment an Irish bard is composing a similar ode.

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  • 123. At 12:17pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Jukka Rohila To Freeborn John (38):

    What do you propose exactly?

    1) Killing Gadaffi with bombers or cruise missiles?
    ...Not likely to work, didn't work with Saddam either.






    Gaddafi has survived Reagan-ordered retaliatory strike only by a miracle.

    Saddam was simply hanged by the neck (much cheaper) until dead, just as Chemical Ali. [no WMDs, remember? ;-)]

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  • 124. At 12:23pm on 27 Feb 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #117. At 11:54am on 27 Feb 2011, threnodio_II

    Regarding your piece of plastic, that depends on the particular country you are in, some like France and Belgium issue a residency card (Carte de Sejour) that merely says you live there and which also says it is not a substitute for a passport. To get a Carte d'Identite I had to take Belgian nationality as that is only issued to nationals. All this is outside schengen as is the health records as I have a SIS card with an electronic chip and the standard european health card which is available in all EU countries. Therefore in conclusion, as a Belgian national I have a carte d'identite for travel and two health cards should I fall ill that prove I am covered. Your residency card may or may not be accepted as proof of identity across the schengen zone.

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  • 125. At 12:27pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    WebAliceinwonderland wrote:
    powermeer

    Black evening.
    White snow....






    'Listen Sergey, listen to my voice:

    "...for I have promises to keep
    and miles to walk before I sleep".'

    [I hope you can rent that movie, Alice. You'd enjoy it, I'm sure.]

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  • 126. At 12:34pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #47 AiW "With all respect, a pilot or two defecting in MIGs abroad, could have just wished that - to defect."







    Met Lt Belenko many years ago in D.C.

    FYI: he was the one who managed to defect to Japan in a then brand new MiG-25 interceptor.

    [landing on vapours on Hokkaido]

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  • 127. At 12:47pm on 27 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    #107

    Very sad indeed. Why, pray, would the Arab nations not be capable of a functioning democracy?

    Who are those "experts" you talk about? All the ones who didn't see this coming?

    Or are Arabs not "developed" enough in your view? Sounds like racism to me.

    The EU should actively support the transition to democratic regimes in the Middle East.

    We have expertise in governance, the rule of law, establishing democracy. We've been very successful in central europe, and have contributed a lot to what happens in Turkey, which looks like the right model going forward.

    Don't forget that dictatorships don't work. Egypt is a good example.

    Why would the people who rise up today accept that the Mullahs put them down again? Why swap one dictatorship for another?

    As to the posts of Buzet23 - I guess we need them to bring the average quality of this blog down. For those of us who would like adult, educated debate, (s)he brings refreshing mudslinging & averts our attention. Probably on purpose. The EU is not corrupt or undemocratic. It is far from perfect of course, and needs serious reform, but throwing empty insults is not debate, and will not improve matters.





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  • 128. At 12:48pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    champagne_charlie asks:
    How do we get Baroness Ashton or her bosses sacked by the way?






    The same way we can get perennial president/premier Putin sacked.

    Or that perennial dictator: Fidel Castro. Or that Mugabe fella.
    Or that Comical Hugo. Or that Ahmadinnerjacket. Or that Bashir Assad.



    [now, have I mentioned that 'president' of Sudan propped by PRC?]

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  • 129. At 12:51pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Buzet23 wrote:
    #111. At 11:12am on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat

    Haven't you heard yet, it was the CIA that paid for him [Megrahi] to be sent to Libya so that they could stage a revolt and have him eliminated in the unrest.







    Barack Hussein has allocated extra funds for Leon Panetta's company? :-)

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  • 130. At 12:53pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    AiWS: "as for the winter Olympics is chosen the absolute climatic maximum WARMEST place in Russia"




    You're right, Alice.

    Can you explain to me what would have been wrong with Magadan or Vorkuta?

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  • 131. At 1:05pm on 27 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #122 - margaret howard

    "Indeed, until now, I had not even heard such a suggestion."

    Oh really, what proof have you for that?"

    So now Mr. Hill expected to prove that he has not heard something.

    Still, we should be grateful for small mercies. At least you are identifying your sources. Burns as proof of Albion's perfidy? I don't think so Margaret.

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  • 132. At 1:05pm on 27 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #122

    margarethoward;

    "So as you can see for yourself, perfidious Albion has form. Maybe at this very moment an Irish bard is composing a similar ode."

    You do realise that "parcel of rogues" is Burns' contempt for the Scottish Parliament and is not referring to England?

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  • 133. At 1:09pm on 27 Feb 2011, excellentcatblogger wrote:

    128

    Very pertinent and it also exposes the blatant hypocrisy of Cameron et al calling for Gaddafi to go. If a significant number of Britons took to the streets clamouring for say an exit from the EU would cameron immediately say sure we will leave the EU?

    No way. Police and Army would be instructed to crush the mobs. If need be the army would be withdrawn from Afghanistan etc. Our politicians hate referendums simply because it is too much democracy.

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  • 134. At 1:24pm on 27 Feb 2011, Tim0thy wrote:

    #109 Buzet23

    I don't have time for long winded remarks I will simply note that in the midst of all this supposed huge upsurge amongst the population against the EU that the last election held in the UK showed that the one political party with a policy of getting Britain out of the EU got less than 5% of the votes cast.

    Re your comment #124 I'm afraid you are very much behind the times under current EU rules you are no longer required to have a Carte de Sejour.

    Rather than reinvent the wheel I will endorse the comments of threnodio_II #117

    As for the Middle East I'm not very optimistic, they might, probably will get rid of Gadaffi but I suspect that he and Mubarak will eventually be replaced with some other dictator who the West will support in order to placate 6 million Israelis who seem to have us in thrall.

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  • 135. At 1:27pm on 27 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #127 - Manneken

    "We have expertise in governance, the rule of law, establishing democracy. We've been very successful in central europe . . "

    Up to now, I have tended to go along with what you post but do you have any idea how condescending, offensive and downright insulting that statement is? Are you seriously suggesting that the former Warsaw Pact countries were so dim, so lacking in political nous that they needed the expertise inherited from Vichy France, Nazi Germany, Salazar's Portugal, Franco's Spain, the Greek Colonels - how dare you presume to set yourself up as the architects of European democracy? If you want to understand democracy, go study Plato, Aristotle, Tom Paine, Jefferson, Jackson, Voltaire, Montesquieu - the list is endless - and then lecture me about your Bruxellian bureaucrats. The eastern Europeans knew everything there was to know about democracy. All they needed to do was break free. You post is a direct insult to half the peoples of Europe.

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  • 136. At 1:31pm on 27 Feb 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #127. At 12:47pm on 27 Feb 2011, Manneken

    I will say this simply since you are yet to prove you can engage in adult educated debate.

    Your comment "Don't forget that dictatorships don't work. Egypt is a good example." is for once true. So why do you continue to support the formation of a dictatorial EU which is what ever closer union will bring?

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  • 137. At 1:44pm on 27 Feb 2011, Loraine wrote:

    Here we go.... Never mind the European Union, where the heck is the Arab Union???? I live in Canada and heard protesters screaming up parliament hill about why Canada and everyone else is not doing anything? Well, firstly we are. We have been asking and telling the Muslim community for years to clean up their own back yard...They don't..They are asking Canadians and Europeans to do it. Why? Everytime we do...we get blown up..... Americans know that you have to work along side the Muslim community not do their work for them. ..There are many tribes to deal with.. I like the way Eygpt did it. They were finally fet up and took care of there own business. Yes, peace keeping soldiers are necessary, but why put them in the line of fire. Muslims, get up and correct your own affairs, rather than compalin why nobody does anything.

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  • 138. At 2:21pm on 27 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    135 threnodio writes:
    "... so lacking in political nous that they needed the expertise inherited from Vichy France, Nazi Germany, Salazar's Portugal, Franco's Spain, the Greek Colonels - how dare you presume to set yourself up as the architects of European democracy?"

    Oh dear oh dear oh dear, 3000 years of European history that ultimately led to the success of today's EU and all you can come up with is the dictators during a short time of the 20th century! The dreams of Charlemagne and thousands of other visionary men finally come to fruition reduced by you to Nazis and colonels!

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  • 139. At 3:01pm on 27 Feb 2011, ronnieboy1 wrote:

    who is hague to tell a libyan that he must leave libya? whats it got to do with william hague or anybody else who isnt a libyan.

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  • 140. At 3:04pm on 27 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #138 - margaret howard

    Oh yes Margaret, absolutely. The short list of dictators was simply a reminder of how very brief and shallow the schedule of European democrats really is. You could, if you wish, trawl back through your 3000 years of European history and you would probably need that amount of time to find a functioning democracy.

    The fact remains that the original comment is deeply insulting to many good honest Europeans who craved freedom and democracy and found it it their own way. And your comment about the 'dreams of Charlemagne' seems to ignore the fact that, such as they were, came about by conquest and intrigue rather than any commitment to democracy.

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  • 141. At 3:28pm on 27 Feb 2011, ronnieboy1 wrote:

    ireland is a fine example of a working democracy......change of government from the ballot box...unlike the uk who has the same people in power since the 18th century.. ie( big business).if i were gadaffi i would say "stuff you hague, cameron and the rest of the people who cant even run their own countries properly im staying here in my country...what are you going to do about it"?.

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  • 142. At 4:02pm on 27 Feb 2011, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    I wonder if there's a connection between my entry at 41 and the comments in this discussion about the performance of Baroness Ashton? The latter seem to assume incompetence on her part. But perhaps it's something else?

    Baroness Ashton (and von Rompuy and the others) must of course be aware of the lack of democratic legitimacy of the Lisbon Treaty, on which their jobs depend. Whatever may be said about Ashton, I don't see in her any hint of the kind of personal megalomania that would completely ignore concerns about democratic legitimacy. So perhaps at some level of her being, she's conscious of the fact that, regardless of her personal qualities, her job doesn't really have a right to exist. Could it be that this recognition - however reluctant she may be to express it, even to herself - hampers her performance?

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  • 143. At 4:32pm on 27 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    powermeer,

    I wouldn't despair much that your family lost the house in Wolyn as a result of 1917. Should they stay on - they'd get into Wolyn massacre, when nationalistic Western Ukrainian gangs (siding with nazi) killed I think - more Poles than any "Katyn" (100,000 women and children burned alive and stomuck cut in Wolyn is a lot).

    On the other hand, it's hard to say for me whether your family in Wolyn were Polish or Russian, so many times that area changed hands since 981 on (Wolyn-Vladimir county, headed by knyaz Vsevolod Vladimirovich :o)))

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  • 144. At 4:46pm on 27 Feb 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    By time-frame ownership (200 yrs before 1917) you fit for a Russian.
    But if you don't mind, I'll be calling you a Wolynyanin :o)))), a Wolynian native, that's more detailed. Especially that there is such a word in Russian for a nationality, and I looked up now what Nestor-scriptwriter wrote about Wolynians in the 11th century - described as very rich in house-keeping habits, good houses, and that Wolyniane, their reps, when visiting Kiev - always tended to boast! :o))))))
    So that poor Kiev knyaz' even had to send an enquiring emissar :o) back to Wolyn' to check whether they really live as rich as they boast about :o)))) (and, yeah, it was confirmed, as Nestor writes, that they did well :o))))))

    What did you say about your watch?

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  • 145. At 5:18pm on 27 Feb 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    Mr. Hewitt

    "But for many that is not enough. Their frustration lies in their dreams. They imagine Europe to be what it isn't and so forever seem disappointed."

    Don´t you mean Britain instead of Europe ?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/9407335.stm

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  • 146. At 6:15pm on 27 Feb 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #134. At 1:24pm on 27 Feb 2011, Tim0thy wrote:

    "#109 Buzet23

    I don't have time for long winded remarks I will simply note that in the midst of all this supposed huge upsurge amongst the population against the EU that the last election held in the UK showed that the one political party with a policy of getting Britain out of the EU got less than 5% of the votes cast.

    Re your comment #124 I'm afraid you are very much behind the times under current EU rules you are no longer required to have a Carte de Sejour."

    No need to be long winded as you simply do not know the regulations of EU countries, try looking up residency permits and you may just learn something. Try exercising the rights of nationals in your country of residence, you can't. Try using your piece of paper or sometimes a card, it merely proves you have registered and not your identity.

    As for UKIP in the UK that is a poor pathetic excuse to say people support the EU in the UK, in Belgium we have a list system of pro EU parties with a few extremes that are not at all interesting. Would you therefore claim that all Belgians in Wallonia therefore support the corrupt incompetent politicians of the EU. If the political system only has major parties with their nose in the trough democracy is dead, it is no different to the one party, one candidate communist system, now do you maybe, just maybe understand.

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  • 147. At 6:20pm on 27 Feb 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #140. At 3:04pm on 27 Feb 2011, threnodio_II

    The MH is getting frantic and irrational (#38), quite unbelievable and if she is representative of modern day Scots lets rebuild the Hadrians wall even higher and stronger. Maybe the EU will give the English a grant so that we can preserve our national heritage.

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  • 148. At 7:26pm on 27 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    131 threnodio writes:
    "Still, we should be grateful for small mercies. At least you are identifying your sources. Burns as proof of Albion's perfidy? I don't think so Margaret."

    Not Burns, threnodio, the Acts of Union 1707.

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  • 149. At 7:29pm on 27 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    #135
    Plato a democrat? Well now that's news. Only one epitheton ornans suits Plato and that is the "godfather of fascism". Your comment only shows the depth of your ignorance, I'm afraid.

    The EU is the embodiment and result of european democracy. It is more democratic than most of its member states, and secures democracy across Europe. Look at Italy, Hungary, the UK, and many others.

    What you are saying is that without the force of NATO and the example of the EU, central Europe would have found the inspiration in of itself to get rid of the communist thugs and create democracy? Maybe, but why would they, since the example of a healthy functioning democracy was at their doorstep. The EU is the result of the profound rejection of Vichy, the Colonels, Franco e tutti quanti.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but that half of Europe, first thing they did was ask membership of the EU. One of the main reasons was to anchor democracy much deeper than it had ever been before. Or would you call Pilsudski or Bela Kun pillars of European democratic history? The only functioning democracy in Central Europe between the world wars was Czechoslovakia, and it was betrayed by the western democracies (France & UK). I think it is you who are insulting them.

    As usual, your argument is circular. You presume the EU is undemocratic - but as I have said many times: quod erat demonstrandum.

    This is what you need to give arguments and evidence for. You and other eurosceptic contributors in this blog consistently fail in doing so. From those contributions, I can only deduce your case is extremely weak, both intellectually and morally.

    I'm still waiting for an intelligent, well-constructed eurosceptic argument. I'd love to read it and argue with it.

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  • 150. At 7:31pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #143 AiW asks: " What did you say about your watch?"


    It shows that it's past the time of latifundia in Wolyn.


    BTW. You may want to read on Patek. Quite an interesting fella.

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  • 151. At 7:31pm on 27 Feb 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    127 Manneken writes:
    "As to the posts of Buzet23 - I guess we need them to bring the average quality of this blog down. For those of us who would like adult, educated debate, (s)he brings refreshing mudslinging & averts our attention. Probably on purpose. The EU is not corrupt or undemocratic. It is far from perfect of course, and needs serious reform, but throwing empty insults is not debate, and will not improve matters."

    Couldn't agree with you more. But you're lucky. You haven't met his sidekick and fellow mudslinger yet.

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  • 152. At 7:32pm on 27 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    #136
    "Your comment "Don't forget that dictatorships don't work. Egypt is a good example." is for once true. So why do you continue to support the formation of a dictatorial EU which is what ever closer union will bring?"

    You say that ever closer union will dictatorship. Why? I've been asking this question a lot, but haven't got an answer yet.

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  • 153. At 8:03pm on 27 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #149

    manneken;

    "I'm still waiting for an intelligent, well-constructed eurosceptic argument. I'd love to read it and argue with it."

    Who would bother putting forward a rational argument to someone who believes the MIC is controlling the Libyan evacuation?

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  • 154. At 8:16pm on 27 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #149 - Manneken

    'Plato a democrat? Well now that's news. Only one epitheton ornans suits Plato and that is the "godfather of fascism". Your comment only shows the depth of your ignorance, I'm afraid'.

    Really? And where did I say that Plato was a democrat? No, seriously, WHERE? All I said was that he is required reading for anyone who wants to understand democracy. So is Marx, for that matter. No, you just loved the opportunity to make your ad hominem about the depth of my ignorance and succeeded only in demonstrating your own.

    'As usual, your argument is circular. You presume the EU is undemocratic - but as I have said many times: quod erat demonstrandum.' So you have said many times that the EU being undemocratic is something which has been shown to be so? If you must get clever with the Latin, at least figure out what it means first and if you have said it 'many times', ad nauseum' would seem to be more apposite.

    'This is what you need to give arguments and evidence for. You and other eurosceptic contributors in this blog consistently fail in doing so. From those contributions, I can only deduce your case is extremely weak, both intellectually and morally'.

    So it was not just my recent post you didn't read properly. It's all of them. I am not and never have been a Euro sceptic. I am an enthusiast, which is precisely why I am so vociferous in my criticism of the current leadership and contemptuous of those who slavishly buy their 'party line'. You are not one of them are you?

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  • 155. At 8:40pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #153


    charlie, although nobody wants to admit it officially, one of the main reasons Qaddafi was accepted and even courted by West European democracies and why EU response to his atrocities was so muted until quite recently - has been that the Colonel had succesfully presented himself as a effective bulwark protecting Western Europe from a veritable onslaught of economic immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa.


    Nay, Gaddafi would even hint from time to time that if unduly pressured, he might stop preventing those 'huddled masses' from flooding Western Europe.

    That tactics worked well for the Colonel for quite a long time.

    [not that it may not yet work for his son]

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  • 156. At 8:42pm on 27 Feb 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #149. At 7:29pm on 27 Feb 2011, Manneken

    You talk about wanting to discuss and you have just about enough intelligence to search for phrases in Latin on the internet like "quod erat demonstrandum", I have no doubt you never ever studied Latin, QED.

    As for MH, well she claims to have been to a grammar school and they did use to offer such Latin studies, or they did when I was at school, it is just a shame that her latest post #151 shows why Hadrian's wall was built by the Roman's. As was always said, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink, especially in her case.

    "The EU is the result of the profound rejection of Vichy, the Colonels, Franco e tutti quanti."

    In which case many of the French are wrong in calling Sarkozy's government the vichy government, or had you not picked that up yet.

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  • 157. At 8:48pm on 27 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    #154
    Hey, you're right - apologies. I was too quick there on the Eurosceptic part.

    On the democratic part, I stand by my position - the EU embodies democracy better and more than any of its member-states. One of the main reasons is that the transfer of powers to the EU level has always been done in a strict legalistic manner (some times too much so). Only recently, with the bail-out fund, have politicians at EU level done what they do often at national level, which is to take legal short-cuts. It was possible, but by a bit of a stretch. Is that better than a national default? I would think so.

    It also shows that the "federal" level of EU decision making has become more important.

    The EU also has a rather superior system of checks and balances, which is lacking in e.g. the UK, which is testimony to its credibility as a functioning democracy. At a different level than the nation-state, of course.

    Europe has a very poor history of democracy. It's current roots are not in Greece, but in the medieval towns. If anything, the XVII provinces, their offspring the Dutch republic and post-civil war England (after the genocidal dictatorship of the commonwealth), are the real roots of modern democracy. Most European empires were against it, and it took the French Revolution to destroy the old system, so that it could start to take root. Montesquieu, Jefferson, fair enough. Voltaire? I don't think so.

    But to say that the EU is the heir of Franco, Salazar, Hitler and others like that is intellectually profoundly dishonest.

    Two more points. First, I'm in no-one's party (didn't there was one, by the way) - critical enthusiasm is the best way, I agree on that with you.

    Second. "Quod erat demonstrandum"= "that which had to be proven". Gerundivum. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerundivum. I just use it in a creative way, because I know what it actually means.





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  • 158. At 8:50pm on 27 Feb 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #153. At 8:03pm on 27 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie

    The tiny insignificant little statue that sits just off the Grand Place in Brussels is the embodiment of the EU edifices that are situated not so far away. In the case of the statue it passes water, in the case of the EU it passes other peoples cash, however the manneken would like to discuss the merits of the EU even though that would only take seconds. As to the horror of all horrors, the alternatives, well he/she has yet to realise that there are alternatives and they will be adopted eventually, as has been shown by the unrest elsewhere. The citizens will not accept the manneken **** being taken out of them for ever by the EU.

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  • 159. At 8:52pm on 27 Feb 2011, Tim0thy wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 160. At 8:53pm on 27 Feb 2011, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    "I'm still waiting for an intelligent, well-constructed eurosceptic argument. I'd love to read it and argue with it." (Manneken, 149)

    I don't think I've ever seen a convincing argument from first principles as to why the EU should exist. Perhaps, for the enlightenment of myself and many others, you could try and supply one?

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  • 161. At 9:25pm on 27 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    #160
    Easy. Read Monet, Schuman. Read. The great European civil war (1914-1945). The first world war alone, in gold, cost the price of providing, in 1914 money, every european family with a three bedroom house with central heating and running water. This at a time when the vast majority of houses had neither.

    The European community for coal and steel. The European defense union, which never started.

    Today's EU is remarkably close to the vision of its founding fathers : through the common and internal market, gradually move to political union. So that european nations don't make war upon one another anymore.

    Your question exemplifies an eternal truth: the one thing we learn from history, is that we don't learn from history.

    I've done my bit.

    Where's yours? I keep asking. No answer. I say it's intellectual poverty. Prove me wrong.

    #158
    Sad. Name calling. Empty. Give one alternative that could work, and be to the benefit of the peoples of Europe.

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  • 162. At 9:37pm on 27 Feb 2011, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    Manneken, 161:

    Do you really call that jumble of words a convincing argument?

    What I was asking for was for YOU (not Monet or Schuman or anyone else) to present your thoughts on why the EU should, in principle, exist. You've failed to do so, so what I said at 160 still stands.

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  • 163. At 9:45pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Clive Hill, only now I got to reading your #51 posat quoting -finally - correct figures of Iraqis killed by the Colation Forces versus a number of them killed by Saddam and his henchmen.

    As a token payback: a list of countries which helped Saddam to build WMDs he allegedly never had.



    "German firms such as Karl Kobe helped build Iraqi chemical weapons [...]Other German firms sent 1,027 tons of precursors of mustard gas, sarin, tabun, and tear gasses in all. [...]

    Around 21% of Iraq’s international chemical weapon equipment was French. [...]

    75,000 shells and rockets designed for chemical weapon use also came from Italy.[...]

    About 100 tons of mustard gas also came from Brazil.

    The United Kingdom paid for a chlorine factory that was intended to be used for manufacturing mustard gas.[...]

    Singapore gave 4,515 tons of precursors for VX, sarin, tabun, and mustard gasses to Iraq.

    The Dutch gave 4,261 tons of precursors for sarin, tabun, mustard, and tear gasses to Iraq.

    Egypt gave 2,400 tons of tabun and sarin precursors to Iraq and 28,500 tons of weapons designed for carrying chemical munitions.

    India gave 2,343 tons of precursors to VX, tabun, Sarin, and mustard gasses.

    Luxembourg gave Iraq 650 tons of mustard gas precursors.

    Spain gave Iraq 57,500 munitions designed for carrying chemical weapons. In addition, they provided reactors, condensers, columns and tanks for Iraq’s chemical warfare program, 4.4% of the international sales.

    China provided 45,000 munitions designed for chemical warfare."

    And that's just Wikipedia (not the most extensive source on the subject).


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  • 164. At 9:48pm on 27 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    #162
    Pitiful. I ask - and keep re-asking what the eurosceptics have to offer. You don't reply, but ask me why the EU is a good thing. I give an answer, and you reject, not because the content is wrong (or because you give counter-arguments), but because it is not "personal" enough. If you don't understand it, I'll spell it out. The EU prevents intra-european war, and has a programme of peace and prosperity. What do you have to offer?

    You act as an intellectual coward, I'm afraid. Where are your arguments? You didn't actually say anything before, and you still haven't.

    What is the project of the eurosceptics? The only thing I get is silence, avoidance and insult.

    I always think it only reflects the poor quality of the contributors to this blog, rather than the eurosceptic project itself. Maybe I'm wrong?

    Please, can we have some intelligent eurosceptics, who do more than avoiding points, throwing insults and making the eurosceptic project look like a bunch of rambling fools?

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  • 165. At 9:52pm on 27 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #161

    manneken;

    What is this supposed to be? "Why the EU is like really cool" a story by manneken aged 5 1/2?

    You've done your bit?? Yeah you've done your bit to regress the debate back to irrelevant pie-in-the-sky mission statements and fluffy bunny rhetoric.

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  • 166. At 9:56pm on 27 Feb 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #157 - Manneken wrote:

    'But to say that the EU is the heir of Franco, Salazar, Hitler and others like that is intellectually profoundly dishonest'.

    I did not actually say that though. What I said was in response to your assertion that the EU was the model and inspiration for the modern democratic institutions of post-communist eastern Europe and I responded by pointing out that a succession of totalitarian regimes through much of the last century casts real doubt on their ability to maintain and foster lasting democratic institutions. While I do concede that one of the more beneficial of Lisbon has been a shift of power towards the elected parliament, I still maintain that dubbing it a treaty with the specific intention of bypassing direct popular consent was undemocratic, the fact that all three of it's senior officers - Barosso, van Rompuy and Ashton are political appointees all tend to suggest that the EU's democratic credentials are highly questionable. I stick to my assertion that the failure of the EU as a whole to come up with a plausible united policy on North Africa generally and Libya in particular is symptomatic of lack of direction and leadership.

    If you will forgive me saying so, you show signs of joining the already over-populated 'Brit bashers' on this blog. I have been quite strident in my criticism of the UK but you would do well to reflect on one indisputable fact. The democratic institutions of Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Norway were put on hold through no fault of their own for the duration of the Nazi occupation. Every other mainland European country except Sweden and Switzerland either voluntarily surrendered their democracies in favour of absolutist regimes or were forcibly subjugated at some time in that last century. Only those two countries along with the UK continued as functioning democracies throughout the twentieth century. If that does not tell you something about European democratic credentials, it certainly ought to. Interesting also that one has chosen to remain outside the EU altogether and that all three have chosen to remain outside the single currency.

    Makes you wonder whether they might have a point?

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  • 167. At 9:57pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    A correction.. Alice asked: Wha was it about your watch again?



    PM : "I wear a simple $600 Casio digital titanium job.

    My grandpa's Patek stashed in a safe, just in case somebody from the East would get and idea to 'liberate' it from me. :-)))"


    [btw.: you can read on Patek here: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 168. At 10:01pm on 27 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Web Alice,

    Here is a nice song about living fine w/out...but its bittersweet... not really me...but sung well....I do love bittersweet stuff.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xJBpVgj0cw

    "A week in Paris could ease the bite of it,

    But all I really care is to smile in spite of it:)))"

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  • 169. At 10:03pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Buzet, re #156

    Some nations have to build walls to keep invaders out;

    some other ones: to keep their citizens in.

    [and I'm sure you know which are which]

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  • 170. At 10:05pm on 27 Feb 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #163

    powermeerkat;

    "The United States exported support for Iraq during the Iran–Iraq war|over $500 million worth of dual use exports to Iraq that were approved by the Commerce department. Among them were advanced computers, some of which were used in Iraq's nuclear program.[29] The non-profit American Type Culture Collection and the Centers for Disease Control sold or sent biological samples of anthrax, West Nile virus and botulism to Iraq up until 1989, which Iraq claimed it needed for medical research. A number of these materials were used for Iraq's biological weapons research program, while others were used for vaccine development.[30] For example, the Iraqi military settled on the American Type Culture Collection strain 14578 as the exclusive anthrax strain for use as a biological weapon, according to Charles Duelfer.[31]"

    "The Washington Post reported that in 1984 the CIA secretly started providing intelligence to the Iraqi army during the Iran-Iraq War. This included information to target chemical weapons strikes."

    "On March 21, 1986 the United Nation Security Council recognized that "chemical weapons on many occasions have been used by Iraqi forces against Iranian forces"; this statement was opposed by the United States, the sole country to vote against it in the Security Council (the UK abstained).["

    Did you honestly think folks wouldn't see you deliberately miss the U.S. off the list?

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  • 171. At 10:10pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "But to say that the EU is the heir of Franco, Salazar, Hitler and others like that is intellectually profoundly dishonest."








    Correct: whatever you may think of those dictators; during their reign economies of Germany, Spain and Portugal (originally unmitigated disasters) - recovered and even flourished.


    Whereas in case of EU - the opposite seems to be true.

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  • 172. At 10:14pm on 27 Feb 2011, jonathanbw wrote:

    #149 'I'm still waiting for an intelligent, well-constructed eurosceptic argument. I'd love to read it and argue with it.'

    First, there is no evidence that 'political union' of itself is necessary to enable neighbouring states to coexist peacefully (the Scandinavian nations have not gone to war with each other for centuries, nor have the BeNeLux states, nor have Canada and the USA, nor have Australia and New Zealand).

    Second there is no evidence that political union can prevent war if the conditions for conflict exist; it may even lead to armed conflict (the war between East and West Pakistan, the Irish and Basque 'troubles', the Rwandan Civil War and situation in Sudan are evidence of this).

    Economic Union (the 'Single Market') is helpful to trade but not necessary.

    The fundamental argument against Euro-Federalism is that it is anti-democratic, because it moves decision-making too far away from voters; I want my country's foreign (and domestic) policy to be determined by an elected assembly that is a close to me as possible (the principle of 'subsidiarity').

    Instead the EU reserves to itself (and not even to an elected assembly)many of the powers formerly vested in national governments; the Irish people are about to find out the limits of democracy within the EU as they will be told that the 'bail out' imposed upon them is not negotiable, even though they have voted decisively to reject the government that agreed to it.

    Describing 1914-45 as the great European civil war misses the point: 1914-18 represented the end of Early Modern Imperialism and the assertion of the rights of the Nation State, and 1939-45 the inevitable clash of Fascism and Nazism with Democracy and Communism. European political union on the EU model is irrelevant to both.

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  • 173. At 10:14pm on 27 Feb 2011, Ulkomaalainen wrote:

    Hi Manneken #75

    "Ah the great projects of the Eurosceptics.

    Let's stay divided and insignificant. Let's hanker for the days of our lost empires (yes, that's plural), when we could sow genocide and plunder at will."

    I've been called a Eurosceptic. It is one of the politer names that I've been called.

    What exactly is wrong with being divided and insignificant? It does after all work quite well for Switzerland. I'm quite happy to be divided and insignificant if we can also build aN EU which provides Swiss livong standards. I'm a bit confused as to who is thirstng for empire? The days of empires seem to me to be long gone. Why would any European nation want an empire now?

    "Let's not try to pool our limited resources, the only way to get a place at the top table."

    Why should we want this for the EU? At the moment the leadership is rotated through the leaders of the member states. When is it the turn of Mr Berlusconi? I'm not sure that I would appreciate having that clown at the top table.

    "No wonder there's such a thing as europessimism - they are its core and necessity. They should be ignored, because they blur the view to a Europe that understands and acts on what actually happens in the 21st century."

    Hmm...I should be ignored if I do not wholeheartedly embrace the goals of the EU project. One of the things I like about democracy is that if the Eurosceptic views hold sway with a large enough portion of the electorate then they cannot be ignored. As there are many stupid people like me who are Euroscpetics the debate has to come down to a level where we can understand it or we are liable to cling to our scepticism.

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  • 174. At 10:19pm on 27 Feb 2011, CornwallCoastPath wrote:

    Manneken, 164:

    I didn't understand what you said at 161 because it was unintelligible. What on earth is "The great European civil war (1914-1945). The first world war alone, in gold, cost the price of providing, in 1914 money, every european family with a three bedroom house ......" etc etc? It's just a collection of words, many of which don't even belong to sentences, never mind a structured set of sentences.

    At least in 164 "The EU prevents intra-european war, and has a programme of peace and prosperity." is a sentence, which is an improvement.

    But is that it, then? What evidence do you have that the (relative) peace we've had in Europe since 1945 is down to the EU? Haven't you heard of NATO, the Warsaw Pact and the balance of nuclear weapons?

    And what prosperity do we have? True, Germany is prosperous, but that is due to the hard work and inventiveness of the Germans rather than anything to do with the EU. And much of the rest of the EU is up to its eyeballs in debt.

    Please tell me that this EU thing - on the back of which so many breaches of democracy have been committed, at least in Britain - is based on something more substantial than "The EU prevents intra-european war, and has a programme of peace and prosperity."!

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  • 175. At 10:27pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #167

    Alice, a suitable link on Patek if I've ever seen one:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patek

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  • 176. At 10:57pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #170 ref. my #163: Assistance for Saddam's chemical weapons program.



    Nope, champagne_ charlie. I have not left U.S. out on purpose.


    I simply thought thought I'd deliberately point out- just for a balance, and for a change, just once, - countries which are NEVER mentioned as suppliers of chemical weapons components/shells to Saddam Hussein and its regime]; weapons which were actually USED to kill ca 180 000 Iraqi Kurds.



    charlie: "The United States exported support for Iraq during the Iran–Iraq war|over $500 million worth of dual use exports to Iraq that were approved by the Commerce department. Among them were advanced computers, some of which were used in Iraq's nuclear program."





    Computers? Excuuuuuuse me!

    We've been told repeatedly and ad nauseam both here and in HYS that Saddam Hussein did NOT have any nuclear weapons program.

    And that Iraq was attacked under a false pretense that it's regime was trying to acquire nukes ASAP.


    So which one is it, charlie? :-)



    And as for biological agents...

    Saddam never used any biological weapons. Against anybody.

    For a simple reason: he never HAD any.

    Unlike chemical ones.




    Now, 'bout those Roland-3 missiles supplied to Saddam's regime during the UN arms embargo .... :-)))

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  • 177. At 11:04pm on 27 Feb 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Web Alice,

    Alexander Komerchin (sounds like) was the helper to the USA for their Mars Rovers (big help)

    Before in 1979 and earlier,

    Russia had 2 rovers on the Moon, the Lunokhod (2 of them), whom traveled on the moon and did experiments as well.

    Uh ohhh, complimenting the USSR....Oh Noooooo

    Here, WebAlice,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWEfmCvu8R8

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  • 178. At 11:06pm on 27 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    #174
    So, peace and prosperity are not worth very much in your worldview?

    Those, and democracy (which is also defended by the EU) - what more is there?

    Do you honestly think Germany would be rich and peaceful without the internal market, i.e. the EU? History clearly shows otherwise.

    But I must disappoint you. The EU is really not about much more than peace, prosperity and democracy. That beats empire, with its wars, genocide and plunder. At least in my value system.

    The peace of the EU is not peace with the Soviet Union. It is peace between France and Germany. The fact that eurosceptics keep making this mistake, shows how successful the EU has been.

    The alleged breaches of democracy you claim in the UK, occur at national level. If you don't like them, you should vote out your government. If you don't like the EU, leave it.

    So tell me - what is the eurosceptic project about? What vision do you have? How will you make the world a better place?

    You keep avoiding the question. Do you have no answer?

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  • 179. At 11:22pm on 27 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    #172
    Thank you for providing a reasonable answer.

    Does political union prevent war? It is true that the Scandinavians and Benelux don't declare war. But France and Germany have, repeatedly. What about Yugoslavia? (Canada is too small - it's like Luxembourg declaring war on Belgium. The fact that it doesn't happen only proves that Luxembourg/Canada are too small).

    The examples of problems within a political union you mention come from unions that were, at origin, conquered. The EU is a voluntary club, which makes it stand out. Nobody was ever forced to join it, and every member state can leave.

    Europeans are, historically, a very aggressive and warmongering bunch. Those who think "it couldn't happen today" should read more history about the years 1870-1914. They are dangerously wrong.

    Give me a better structure than integration and pooling of sovereignty today.

    The argument that the EU is less democratic than the nation-state is valid in the argument, but not convincing at all. Mainly because it is circular, and based on a selective way of defining identity and nationality, based on currently existing nation-states, which are very recent political constructs. The EU level is quite democratic (although could be better).

    Ireland can decide to have another government. However, if they want to stay in the Euro, they should stick by the rules. Their problems are to a large extent of their own making. If they don't like it, they can leave the Euro (but they would have to leave the EU to do so - it would be a catastrophe for their economy).

    Let's not have a discussion on history - too many opinions, most of them valid, but only a part of the story. Doesn't necessarily add value.

    I understand that you are not convinced of the necessity (although I think you are wrong). However, where is the positive project of euroscepticism? "Less EU" seems a bit shallow. We know "free trade" doesn't work (see EFTA).


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  • 180. At 11:27pm on 27 Feb 2011, Manneken wrote:

    #173
    Thank you for your comment. I disagree that Switzerland could exist in its current form without the peace the EU guarantees. They did not feel very comfortable during WWII, and their survival as an independent nation was not of their own choice.

    There is a big bad world out there, though. If we don't look after our own (European) interests, others (Russia, China) will decide for us.

    I agree that the idea of Berlusconi going bunga-bunga on EU foreign policy is scary. But that's exactly the level at which there is no efficient integration.

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  • 181. At 11:46pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    JonBW2 wrote:
    #149 'I'm still waiting for an intelligent, well-constructed eurosceptic argument. I'd love to read it and argue with it.'

    First, there is no evidence that 'political union' of itself is necessary to enable neighbouring states to coexist peacefully (the Scandinavian nations have not gone to war with each other for centuries, nor have the BeNeLux states, nor have Canada and the USA, nor have Australia and New Zealand).







    A question to those who claim here ad nauseam that "U.S. invades other countries to steal their oil"


    Two biggest exporters of oil to U$A are Canada and Mexico.

    So how come we've not invaded and occupied them many decades ago just to steal their oil, preferring to pay a prevailing market price for it?

    Confused meerkats want to know.

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  • 182. At 11:54pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    172. At 10:14pm on 27 Feb 2011, JonBW2 wrote:

    EU reserves to itself (and not even to an elected assembly)many of the powers formerly vested in national governments; the Irish people are about to find out the limits of democracy within the EU as they will be told that the 'bail out' imposed upon them is not negotiable, even though they have voted decisively to reject the government that agreed to it.






    I suspect the Irish will be told to vote as many times as needed to get it 'right'; just as Britons, if they ever get a referendum on U.K.'s membership in the Commi-ssars-controlled superstate in the first place.

    [a pertinent referendum in paying for everybody else's failures Germany is strictly vorbotten.]

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  • 183. At 11:58pm on 27 Feb 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #173 " When is it the turn of Mr Berlusconi? I'm not sure that I would appreciate having that clown at the top table."






    Would he be more ridiculous than a former premier of bankrupt Portugal comr..err...senor Barroso?

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